Canadian Casinos Making A Slow Return

By Ben Hamill - September 12 2020

Canadian Casinos Making A Slow Return

Canada’s gaming scene may be crawling back to life after an extended period of near non-existence, but, says casino operator Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC), it is a slow crawling back to life resulting in an industry that is still miles away from lively or from what it used to be pre-crisis.

The operator recently announced its intentions of implementing the so-called phased reopening approach – which approach had been ordered as such by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) back in July when the re-opening green light was first given.

Though the industry was at the time declared officially back in motion, the OLG said that the ultimate decision regarding when to reopen for business would be left to the operators of casinos and other gaming venues themselves.

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Operators Remain Hesitant

Very few operators actually grabbed at the opportunity to reopen with immediate effect, with several big-business operators explaining at the time their hesitance as being rooted in the realisation of there being no real point to reopening given the limits and restrictions associated with reopening their respective businesses.

Limits announced by the OLG in terms of reopenings include no more than 50 customers being allowed inside of a venue at any given point in time, adhering to physical distances of at least two meters between visitors, and no table games initially permitted to be offered.

Whilst in full agreement that said limits are indeed in the best interests of guests as well as casino and gaming venue employees, GCGC chief executive Rod Baker recently warned the corporation’s investors over the fact that the organisation expects to see absolutely no material benefits from any of its 11 Ontario venues. Customer confidence will have to be cultivated as if starting from square one all over again, said Baker. This, together with mentioned re-opening restrictions, explained Baker, can be expected to prove exceptionally negative in terms of revenue performance.

GCGC operates a total of 25 operations across Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia. Accompanying amenities such as general entertainment venues will for the moment remain closed.

Unifor Wants All Casinos Open

Casino industry labour union Unifor has in the meantime called on provincial governments to urgently accelerate the reopening of all Canadian casinos and gaming hotspots. According to Unifor President Jerry Dias, there exists no justification that supports the reopening of establishments such as Walmarts, restaurants, and gyms, whilst all the while ordering casinos to remain shuttered.

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