Canadian casinos remain closed while US sites raise money

Posted on: May 23, 2021 at 9:51 am.

Last updated on: May 23, 2021, 9:53 a.m.

The differences between Canadian and American casinos cannot be more marked.

Canadian COVID Casinos
A photo of the Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino across the Detroit River. While US casinos have reopened and announced record revenues, almost all casinos in Canada have been closed again due to the coronavirus. (Image: Caesars Entertainment)

Earlier this month, the American Gaming Association announced a record start in 2021, with gross gaming revenue in the United States topping $ 11 billion for the first quarter of 2021. This comes less than a year later that COVID-19 has forced the closure of all casinos in the country. Last spring. It also stems from the fact that many US gaming facilities still had to deal with a number of emergency regulations, such as reduced capacity, due to the pandemic.

On the 49th parallel, however, spring 2021 looked a lot like spring 2020.

Almost a month ago, Great Canadian Gaming Corp. announced the temporary closure of its Casino Nova Scotia – Sydney site due to an order from officials in Nova Scotia. It came less than a week after officials in the Maritime province issued another order forcing the country’s largest gaming provider to shut down its casino in Halifax, the provincial capital.

Great Canadian owns 25 properties in the Great White North. Only Casino New Brunswick in Moncton remains open and its opening hours are currently limited to 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., in Atlantic daylight.

A spokesperson for Great Canadian said the company is not conducting interviews at this time and referred to a document detailing its COVID policies. Likewise, the company chose not to hold a first quarter earnings conference call with analysts.

However, in a statement when the company announced its earnings for the first three months, Interim CEO Terrance Doyle said the company was focusing on the possibility of reopening properties if necessary. He also maintained a positive attitude despite what the last year produced.

“For our properties that have been cleared to reopen, we have observed encouraging visitation levels despite operating under restricted conditions,” said Doyle. “In addition, we are encouraged by the continued progress of the mass immunization program across Canada, as well as the early results of the wider reopening of other markets where immunization levels are higher.

Lack of vaccines makes the difference

The great Canadian is certainly not alone. Orders across the country have forced casinos and other properties, like racetracks, to stay closed.

While Caesars Windsor is closed in southern Ontario, all three casinos in downtown Detroit across the border are open. Likewise, Casino Niagara, a location of Mohegan Entertainment, is awaiting reopening, but right across the Rainbow International Bridge, the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in western New York is open.

Canadian casinos reopened like their American counterparts last year, but just like the United States has seen an increase in COVID cases during the holidays, Canada has also, but with a few differences.

One difference is that coronavirus vaccines became available in the United States shortly after the start of this surge. However, Canada, which depends on US medical imports, did not receive the vaccines as quickly.

“Much worse” in Canada this spring

When asked in an interview earlier this month whether the pandemic was as severe this year as it was last year, Paul Burns, president and CEO of the Canadian Games Association, said It’s worse.

“Much worse for different reasons,” he added. “The propagation is happening at a greater speed.”

While older people were hospitalized last year, these facilities are now treating younger patients, many of whom are in intensive care. This has led the provinces to take drastic measures.

Burns said when the time comes for Canadian casinos to reopen, they hope the same boom that regional US markets have received will also occur in the North.

I know a number of companies are trying to stay in touch with their customers, and they hear customers want to come back, ”Burns said.

Not only are reopenings and closings hampering relationships with customers, it has also been difficult for workers.

Casinos are not on top of reopening plans

Vaccines have become more prevalent in Canada over the past month, prompting provincial officials to start announcing plans to reopen.

Quebec plans to begin its reopening later this week. The province’s plan says nothing about casinos, but large indoor performance venues will be allowed to seat up to 250 people starting this Friday. Higher limits for indoor sites are expected to be approved by the end of August.

Ontario – the most populous province in Canada, plans to start its reopening phase June 14. Casinos and bingo halls, however, will not reopen immediately.

According to the plan, these gaming sites will begin to reopen during the third phase of Ontario. This will begin after 70-80% of adults in the province have received at least one vaccine and 25% have been fully immunized.

According to COVID-19 Tracker Canada, more than 7.5 million Ontario residents – more than half of the province – have received at least one dose. However, only 531,603 people are fully vaccinated. This represents only 3.6% of the population.

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