17 Ontario casinos will reopen this week, followed by others such as Fallsview Casino Resort (pictured above) later this month, while gaming facilities in Nova Scotia will return to full capacity on July 14. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
17 Ontario casinos resume operations on Friday
Casinos reopening in the Canadian province of Ontario this week swelled to 17, while their counterparts in Nova Scotia got the green light to return to 100% capacity.
Also making a welcome announcement on July 13 was Niagara Falls’ iconic Fallsview Casino Resort, together with Casino Niagara. Fallsview Casino, which calls itself Canada’s “largest and most elegant gaming resort facility,” took to Twitter to share news of its July 23 reopening:
Fallsview’s sister casino, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)-owned Casino Niagara, followed suit on Tuesday with its own tweet about resuming business on July 23:
The two Niagara casinos have been under lock and key since March 16, 2020 because of the pandemic.
incredibly grateful for the efforts and sacrifices everyone has made over the past 16 months”
The president of the two resorts’ holding company Niagara Casinos, Richard Taylor, said this week that his organization was “incredibly grateful for the efforts and sacrifices everyone has made over the past 16 months.”
What these announcements mean is that, before the month’s end, at least 20 Ontario casinos will be abuzz with the sound of excited patrons, the ringing of coins, and the rattling of dice.
Massive relief for shuttered Ontario facilities
Before the current working week is out, a total of 17 casinos will have reopened in Ontario. This follows an announcement by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment that six of its gaming properties will reopen on July 16. Earlier this month, Gateway reopened all 14 of its British Columbia facilities on July 1.
The CEO of Gateway Casinos, Tony Santo, said his firm was “excited to finally reopen […] across [Ontario], and welcome back our employees and valued customers.” He noted that Gateway operates in “one of the most highly regulated business environments in the province.” Santo added that the company was looking forward to the “return to full operations as soon as possible.”
Woodstock will reopen at 12:01am on Friday, at the same time that the company’s London property makes its comeback. Gateway’s Clinton and Sarnia casinos resume operations at 9am, followed by its Chatham and Point Edward’s counterparts at 10am.
Like many of Ontario’s casinos, the provincial government’s pandemic mandate has kept Gateway Casinos gaming establishments shuttered since March 2020.
at least a score of casinos back in action before August 1
11 of the 17 Ontario casinos welcoming the public back this week belong to the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC). Along with the two Niagara venues and Casino Rama Resort in Orillia, which reopens July 29, the province will have at least a score of casinos back in action before August 1.
Under the Ontario Ministry of Health’s new phase three guidelines, casinos can reopen at 50% capacity. Also required are two-meter social distancing, barriers at gaming tables, and contact tracing for casino patrons.
Nova Scotia casinos return to full capacity
Over in the east, a July 12 announcement by Nova Scotia’s Premier Iain Rankin heralded good news for the province’s casinos. According to the maritime news publication Huddle, casinos can operate “without capacity limits” and “open with normal hours” starting 8am on July 14.
Nova Scotia’s gaming properties got the go-ahead to return to limited operating capacity starting June 15. Under the new phase four rules, casino patrons must still wear masks, but there can be “up to 25 people per table.”