Ontario Casinos & Hotels Desperate To Reopen

By Ben Hamill - June 24 2020

Ontario Casinos & Hotels Desperate To Reopen

Those representing Ontario’s local casino industry on Friday voiced their concerns before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, painting a scenario of ‘do or die’ in the face of a slow and harrowing economic reopening plan. The reopening of the casino industry in particular is an agenda that according to those who rely on the industry for their daily bread and butter, now requires urgent and immediate action.

Even though preparations focused on the relaunch of in-person gaming in the province are already well underway, provincial legislators and officials still have to provide the green light for each individual region before such time as what casinos, Bingo halls, and other gaming venues are at liberty to reopen their doors to the general public.

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Hotels, Charities Struggling

Among those who participated in the conversations on June 19 were several Ontario-based hotel operators. Since hotels rely heavily on a functioning tourism industry, operators have experienced a complete stoppage in incoming revenue. Ontario is home to several premium hotels and accommodation facilities, all of which have been closed for business since around mid-March. The result has been no income whatsoever for a period now heading in the direction of six months.

According to Paul Burns, who is the President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, the approach to an official reopening of the accommodation and gaming and entertainment industries has been way too slow. Referring to tribal casinos located in New York State having already relaunched in-person gaming, Burns sketched a very worrying picture of local gambling enthusiasts making their way across the border instead of waiting on local Ontario casinos to re-open their doors.

These and many more challenges were put to table during the discussions, not least of all that local charity organisations are fighting a battle between life and death as they reel under the pressure caused by local Bingo charities not being permitted to offer any games and entertainment.

Keeping Business Local

As far as a preferred alternative is concerned, it was the CEO’s suggestion that casinos located across Ontario, Windsor and Niagara Falls should be first to reopen and that this should happen as soon as possible so as to prevent a mass-exit of desperately needed local business support.

The hospitality and gaming industry is 100% prepared in terms of a government compliant reopening plan. Special health and safety measures to be implemented upon reopening include adherence to physical distancing guidelines, reduced occupancy rates, PPE provided to staff as well as customers, and regular deep-cleaning and disinfecting of all venues, casino floors, slot machines, cash registers, and other equipment.

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