The property is still under construction, delayed by the pandemic

Canada: Gateway's Cascades Casino North Bay still without opening timeline

The Cascades Casino North Bay project is expected to cost CAD 31 million. When open, it is expected to generate up to 300 jobs. 
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The company said it is evaluating the Stage 3 guidelines for the Ontario province, and the impact of the 50-person capacity restrictions. The new casino was originally scheduled to open this year, but now there is no set timeline for the opening. Gateway Casinos received a CAD 200-million federal loan last week to help reopen casinos closed by the pandemic.

Gateway's new Cascades Casino in North Bay, Ontario, has no set timeline for opening yet.

Rob Mitchell, director of communications at Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., told North Bay Nugget that the company is “currently evaluating the Stage 3 guidelines and how the 50-person capacity restrictions will impact potential reopenings and our ability to bring our people back to work.”

The casino, which originally was scheduled to open this year, is still under construction, delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions placed across the province.

Mitchell said the focus of the company at this time is reopening existing casinos, but there is “no set timeline” for when this will take place. “At Gateway, we have developed extensive health and safety plans for each of our sites, which also includes two-metres physical distancing, rigorous cleaning and sanitation measures, and the mandatory use of masks for all individuals entering our gaming sites,” he said. “All our plans have been independently reviewed by a health and safety subject matter expert and have been submitted to the regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.”

Because of those issues, “under the present circumstances, it is difficult to forecast when our development projects like the casino in North Bay can resume until we better understand the impact of COVID-19 on our existing operations. All of these concerns affect the planning, timing and design of our projects.”

Premier Doug Ford announced July 13 that much of Ontario, including North Bay, would move into Stage 3 of the province’s reopening framework. But in September, many of the limits were rolled back because of an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the province.

Construction also is continuing on Pinewood Park Drive to service the casino, extending water and sewer lines in the vicinity of the site. The casino project is expected to cost $31 million. When open, it is expected to generate up to 300 jobs. 

Gateway Casinos received a $200-million federal loan last week to help reopen casinos closed by the pandemic. It operates slot machines at Sudbury Downs in Chelmsford and has other casino and gaming operations around the province. The loan was made through the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corp. and the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility.

The money is intended to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers whose needs during the pandemic have not been met through conventional financing. It also provides large employers with access to credit in order to preserve jobs. “The money from the federal government is a loan that will be repaid,” Mitchell explained. “It will be used across our business operations to help us with reopening and bringing employees back to work."

Casinos were allowed to open in Ontario in July with a limit of 50 customers at any one time. But for many establishments, that is too few patrons to make them profitable.

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