Great Canadian Gaming Finally Reviving Its 14 Casinos After 6 Months Of No Dice

Image by Sebastiaan Stam
Article by : Helen Sep 28, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, it affected all spheres of our lives, and the casino experience is no exception. However, how severely the industry gets damaged varies from country to country, and, in the case of Canada, even from the province to province, depending on what kind of restrictions are put in place and for how long.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation closed the doors of all of its 25 properties 6 months ago, on March 16, 2020. Now, the company is ready to cautiously reopen some of its establishments – first and foremost, its 11 casinos in Ontario where the coronavirus-related restrictions have been somewhat eased down. These casinos will get back in the game on September 28.

Despite the good news, Ontario’s new measures to combat the virus transmission are still quite restrictive and may not make much of a difference for the casino operator’s bottom line. The main reason is the limit the province imposed on indoor gatherings: only up to 50 people are allowed to be indoors at the same time.

The reductions will be especially significant for our Ontario properties where, due to the 50-guest maximum restriction, we expect no material financial benefit to the Company from our 11 Ontario locations.

Rod Baker, Great Canadian’s CEO

Great Canadian has also announced its Casino New Brunswick will be reopening on the same day as the Ontario properties, as the province is implementing its COVID-19 economy recovery plan. The company highlighted in the press release that they are determined to make the gaming experience as safe as possible for both its guests and staff. Earlier this year, Great Canadian developed and published its 11-page “Gaming’s Commitment to Your Continued Health and Safety.” In the guide, the company outlines all the COVID-19-related precautions, including the newly established procedures for entrances and exits, slots, table games, food and beverage services, etc.

Face masks are going to be mandatory for everyone at the reopened properties, both guests and staff. The company has also outlined its protocol for a suspected or confirmed infection case. The reopening Ontario and New Brunswick casinos will be operating at limited capacity – only 25% of the usual guest capacity and 50% of slot machines’ being available. Most amenities, such as food service on the gaming floor, will be temporarily suspended. Table games won’t be available for guests as well. Barriers will be placed where physical distancing is expected to be hard to maintain.

Even though Nova Scotia has also recently greenlit casino reopening, Great Canadian initially stated they will continue preparing their two casinos’ facilities for accommodating guests in the safest way possible. A week after the initial press release, the company announced it would reopen these two properties on October 5, a week after the Ontario and New Brunswick casinos.

Great Canadian casinos in British Columbia will remain closed as the province authorities have not lifted the closure order. The company’s bottom line has already reflected the coronavirus pandemic restrictions’ impact. According to the interim financial statement for the second quarter of 2020, Great Canadian’s gross revenues plummeted from 354.4 million Canadian dollars in 2Q2019 to 62.8 million in 2020 – this is an 82% year-on-year decline. It also reported net losses of 36.4 million Canadian dollars for the same period.

Helen

Chief Editor

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