Saskatoon’s Casinos And Bingo Halls Reopen

By Ben Hamill - June 27 2021

Saskatoon’s Casinos And Bingo Halls Reopen

On Sunday morning, dozens of people were lined up outside of Casino Regina. Many of them were looking for a return to regular life as residents in Saskatoon were finally allowed to visit casinos and Bingo halls once more. As of 20 June, the province has officially moved into the second phase of its reopening plan, which sees many of the restrictions related to the global health crisis relaxed.

The easing of restrictions means that a maximum of 150 people are allowed in venues that include recreational facilities such as libraries and casinos. Staff at Casino Regina reported that they had reached the venue’s capacity within 45 minutes of opening.

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Strict Health And Safety Measures In Place

Recreational facilities can only reopen if strict health and safety measures are implemented. Shana Schulhauser, a spokesperson for Saskatoon’s Gaming Commission, said that all staff will help to enforce safety measures. Their tasks will include limiting the number of participants in games, screening customers for any symptoms and making sure that customers abide by social distancing regulations.

Gordy Ouellete, the General Manager of Saskatoon’s City Centre Bingo, has said that every member of his staff will be following these regulations to the letter. He said that at one point during the shutdown, he had no choice but to lay off his entire staff of about 40 people. His Bingo hall suffered severe financial loss and he reckons that it will take a few years to recover from it.

Both Ouelette and Schulhauser said that while the lockdown has cost them and everyone else in the industry a great deal of money, members of staff are looking forward to being able to return to work after such a long hiatus.

The Reopening Strategy

Saskatoon’s reopening strategy was implemented long before the dreaded Delta variant started surging throughout Canada. While establishments were forced to close, there were several layoffs across the province. Casino Regina had to lay off a total of 570 full-time employees. The second phase of the reopening meant that casino management could recall 243 employees. The remaining 327 employees will return when the third phase of the reopening strategy officially begins.

The casino has been closed for about six months most recently and about 10 months in total. It is estimated that the total losses incurred during the closure amounts for approximately $100 million. Now that things are starting to reopen, business owners can breathe a sigh of relief as they start to take in money again.

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