GCE May Regret Recent Orillia Deal

By Ben Hamill - December 07 2018

Gateway Casinos and Entertainment

Too many cooks spoil the broth, or so the old saying goes. Sadly, it now appears as if one of Canada’s most prominent and successful gaming and entertainment groups, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment (GCE), will be learning one of life’s oldest lessons the hard way.

GCE recently invested in a group of venues known as the Central Gaming Bundle. One of the venues in the combined lot is the Casino Rama, which is located in the district of Orillia. It now appears as if Casino Rama may turn out to be the rotten apple in the basket, as the developer and operator have some shared concerns about the effective management of the day-to-day operations. Rama is quite the exception to the rule as the venue’s physical location poses a number of unique challenges.

The actual piece of land on which the venue is situated is owned by a company registered as Casino Rama Inc. It’s important to note that the business conducted on the property does not belong to this particular company. The current lessee is the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation who, in turn, sublease the property to Gateway Casinos, being the actual end-operator in the equation.

Navigating Rapid Changes

The challenge is that each and every listed party has its own rights and obligations towards the building and the business, and these rights and obligations are all inter-linked. In and of itself this would not normally pose any problems and many property concessions function in this way.

The problem lies with the fact that operating a casino in a setup such as this may prove to be particularly problematic. Considering the overall sluggish speed at which decisions are made when numerous parties are involved with a single premises, and coupled with the fact that the gaming and entertainment business is subject to a landscape that is rapidly changing, every year and all-year round, one can only imagine the quality of the bug that will be climbing out of the woodwork once the decision-making pace reaches an all-time high.

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No Time To Back-Pedal

It’s not as if anyone has the breathing room to step back and take stock of the situation either. The casino currently employs about 1,400 people; mostly people who have been loyal to the business and its operations for an extended period of time. Simply put, the show must go on.

It remains to be seen whether the various parties will realise the importance of not sweating the small stuff, even just for the sake of the many families who are dependent on the day-to-day operations of the casino.

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