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Canada – Casinos across British Columbia prepare for July 1 reopening

By - 30 June 2021

Having been shut since March of last year, almost 20 casinos and a dozen community gaming centres in British Columbia will be able to reopen on July 1.

Before the pandemic, BC casinos generated more than $1.3bn a year in GGR and employed more than 37,000 people in the province.

Great Canadian Gaming Corp. will reopen nine casinos in the province, including River Rock Casino Resort, Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, Elements Casino Victoria, Elements Casino Surrey, Casino Nanaimo, Elements Casino Chilliwack, Hastings Racecourse, Chances Maple Ridge and Chances Dawson Creek. The properties will reopen with a reduction in slot machine and live table game capacity to reflect physical distancing requirements, as well as limited food and beverage services.

The company’s British Columbia properties have been closed since March 16, 2020 to support the provincial government’s efforts to contain the spread COVID-19 in the province.

“This is another exciting development for Great Canadian and our recovery from the impact of the pandemic,” stated Terrance Doyle, the Company’s Interim Chief Executive Officer. “Importantly, these reopenings mean over 1,000 of our team members returning to work and generating revenue for the Province and our communities. With the reopening of our properties in Ontario on the horizon, we are poised to begin rebuilding our business,” concluded Doyle.

The theatre at River Rock casino will remain a vaccine clinic until the health authority is no longer in need of the site.

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment (Gateway) confirmed it was re-opening all locations across the province. With the health and safety of customers and employees as the top priority, the properties will adhere to all public health guidelines outlined by British Columbia’s Public Health Officer (PHO), align with guidance from BCLC and implement stringent health and safety measures that have been deployed across the Gateway Casinos network.

On re-opening, it said there would be a number of gaming amenities for customers to enjoy on the spacious gaming floors including a wide variety of slot machines, table games (not including Poker), and stadium gaming. All locations will offer select food & beverage amenities including Gateway’s signature MATCH Eatery & Public House, Personas at Grand Villa Burnaby, Chow Lucky Noodle Bar and Atlas Steak +Fish.

“We are excited to finally re-open casinos and community gaming centres across the province, and welcome back our employees and valued customers into a very safe environment for gaming and dining. As always, the health and safety of our employees and customers are paramount,” said Tony Santo, CEO at Gateway Casinos. “We look forward to a safe and steady restart and the return to full operations as soon as possible.”

This has been a very challenging year for the many employees who have been off work since all casinos in BC were forced to close in March 2020. To support the re-opening of Gateway’s 14 BC locations, more than 2,465 employees have been returned to active work. As restrictions are lifted more staff will be returned to active work.

Maintaining a clean environment is a daily priority including cleaning all hard surfaces and high touch surfaces, such as door handles and tables. Under the current environment, Gateway is being hyper-vigilant with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols throughout our properties to prevent the spread of transmittable illnesses, including COVID-19.

“We operate in one of the most highly regulated business environments in the province with more rigorous oversight and controls than any other business in the hospitality sector,” said Santo. “At Gateway, we have developed extensive health and safety plans that have been independently reviewed by a health and safety subject matter expert and have been submitted to WorkSafe BC and BCLC.”

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