September 28 at 10am marked the opening of all major casinos in Ontario. When the pandemic struck in March 2020, casinos in this province were shut down, along with almost everything else. On March 12, publicly funded schools were closed. On March 16, The province recommended the closure of all recreation programs, libraries, private schools, daycares, and churches and other faith settings, as well as bars and restaurants, except those that offer takeout or delivery.
As August approached, things improved, and the number of COVID-19 cases went down. But that was then, and this is now. It’s curious that casinos are set to re-open while cases of COVID-19 surge. For the first time during this pandemic, the number of new cases in Ontario reached 700. That’s not a record to be proud of.
In a press release, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation announced:
In Ontario, Great Canadian will be reopening its 11 properties on September 28, 2020 as part of Ontario’s Stage 3 framework for the reopening of its economy. As part of that framework, the Company will be adhering to provincial guidelines, which include indoor gathering limits up to a maximum of 50 guests, and will not include the operation of table games or other amenities.
Gamblers will only be allowed to use slot machines, and they'll have to reserve their spot online before showing up in person. They’re looking to bring back gamblers who have gone with best online casinos Canada.
"Once open, gaming revenues in each jurisdiction will be significantly reduced due to operating restrictions," said CEO Rod Baker in a statement.
"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."
Health and safety measures will also be in place, including mandatory mask usage, social distancing, plexiglass barriers and more. Here’s a taste:
Each table game position will be sanitized whenever a guest leaves their game. Cleaning and disinfection products and protocols will be used to meet the requirements of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Once an area has been sanitized and ready for play, a coaster will be placed on the open position railing indicating that it has been sanitized. Craps and Poker are temporarily suspended
The Ontario locations are:
- Casino Ajax at Ajax Downs in Ajax
- Casino Woodbine at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto
- Great Blue Heron Casino in Scugog Island
- Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands in Gananoque
- Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs, a race track in Fraserville, south of Peterborough. This track has been reopened in spring 2019 with only 150 slots and racetrack since the opening of the new 50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2) Shorelines Casino in Peterborough.
- Shorelines Casino Belleville in Belleville. This casino opened on January 11, 2017, and was the first new casino in Ontario since 2006.
- Shorelines Casino Peterborough in Peterborough, opened in 2018
- Georgian Downs, a race track in Innisfil, acquired in 2005
- Elements Casino Flamboro at Flamboro Downs, a race track in Hamilton, acquired in 2005
- Elements Casino Brantford, formerly OLG Casino Brantford, acquired in 2018
- Elements Casino Grand River at Grand River Raceway, formerly OLG Slots Grand River
- Elements Casino Mohawk at Mohawk Racetrack, former OLG Slots Mohawk
Personally, I prefer my gambling casinos online where we can effortlessly socially distance. Some of the online casinos offer a similar experience and payout without risking illness. In 2020, there really is no sensible alternative.
Now I just have to convince Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative Party.