CGA: Ontario Casinos Ready to Re-Open, Bingo Halls to Follow-Up

Casinos and bingo halls in Ontario are seeking permission to re-open earlier, after a report emerged claiming representatives of the casino industry association appeared before the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee on Friday, during the briefing day for the tourism and hospitality industry impacted by the temporary closures.

Casinos Up and Ready

As each sector of the industry had the chance to explain the degree of material impact of the still ongoing health crisis on the business, Paul Burns, President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) used the opportunity to outline before the committee members the industry’s preparedness to resume operations.

Mr Burns informed the committee that casinos in border areas are ready to re-open and will soon be followed by those in Niagara Falls and Windsor, as the industry developed an extensive list of measures to mitigate risk, including 50% capacity, physical distancing, improved cleaning protocols to implement disinfection, as well as eliminating playing spots. Slots that are generally packed closely together will be set up differently, to allow for space between players, while table games such as blackjack and poker will feature removed seats from the tables.

The recent development brought clarity to the situation regarding casino intentions to re-open, as earlier in June there was a report stating that casinos were not in a hurry to return to business, amid the industry uncertainty. One of the largest operator, Gateway Casinos, halted construction of its new multi-million-dollar facility in North Bay, which was expected to open this year, yet the company explained its focus lies in getting back to operations its existing casino facilities in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.

Hope Regulars Will Return

But the re-opening of the casinos does not mean the return of their guests, as many of them are seniors and will definitely be weary to return amid the existing health risk, albeit mitigated by the gaming venues. Some industry analysts even go further to suggest casino operators should start talking to customers through loyalty programs, as well as inform them on what casinos could look like after the re-open.

Unlike casinos which are pushing for an early re-start, the industry is proposing to re-open bingo halls later, of course with the necessary requirements to ensure physical distancing in place, including removing or covering chairs from tables and utilizing staggered seating.

The question that remains to be answered is how many of the land-based gaming facilities regulars switched to the online gaming options during the casino closures and how many of them will be willing to return. If gambling preferences have permanently changed to online gaming, it will place the casinos at a significant disadvantage, on top of the one related to sports betting.

18 Comments

  • Alex
    June 23, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    As an avid casino player. I can tell you that I have not gambled online during the shut down. There are different reasons people gamble and my reason is mostly sociability.

  • Maria
    June 26, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    Seniors love to gamble at the casinos. It’s an opportunity to get out. Online is too fast. The key with covid is don’t cough just take cough syrup and swallow it and your stomach acid will kill it. Bring a bottle of cough syrup with you to the casino and be free.

  • C.lemenchick
    June 26, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Bingo halls should be the last to open ,considering the population that are using them. Most players are older and more likely to suffer from the virus if they contact it.Many live in homes where the virus seems to thrive.

    • Rose Bernauer
      July 5, 2020 at 6:04 am

      so what are you saying old people have viruses living in their homes and they are dirty people older people are more apt to get it yes as they claim but all the people l have known to have gotten it are younger ….bingo halls bars restaurants they are all equal in having people in close accommodations actually restaurants and bars more so then bingo halls or casino’s as people hate people around them feeling jinxed by anyone close and bars and restaurants have people almost clinging to each other……l think they bingo halls should of been opened before restaurants and anyplace people gather that is my thoughts on it

  • Dan Goodman
    June 29, 2020 at 6:28 am

    I have not used the online gambling,I go to casinos at 2-3:00 am
    in the morning ,cause it’s not crowded than.more slot machines are
    available, I have my mask and gloves are ready to go back.😷👍

  • Dan G.
    June 29, 2020 at 6:31 am

    I have not used the online gambling,I go to casinos at 2-3:00 am
    in the morning ,cause it’s not crowded than.more slot machines are
    available, I have my mask and gloves are ready to go back.😷👍

  • Sandy macFarlane
    June 30, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Clemenchuck, I don’t know where you get your information about Bingo players being older. Some are yes but there are lots in my age group 35-40 which go on a regular basis and enjoy a night out and we do not like the bar scene. Also a lot of the seniors that go have their own apts and do not live in seniors homes. You need to check your source of information because it is not correct

  • Byfield
    July 3, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Open the casino man. I need to go hit a jackpot.

  • Mt Polise
    July 6, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Awesome article – thoroughly enjoyed reading,Thanks for sharing.

  • Myrrah
    July 11, 2020 at 12:19 am

    Rose, can you please rephrase in English (English punctuation and sentences)? It doesn’t make any sense as it is. Thanks

    • Rose Bernauer
      September 19, 2020 at 5:00 am

      well ms perfect english l go on without using periods ……….as it is a waste of time when l am upset or angry……….so maybe read the comment not the english perfection………. you seem to have nothing to do then point that out to me………………………

  • cecee
    July 18, 2020 at 5:55 am

    bingo halls are closed as well as bars and restraunts

  • KM
    July 30, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    Are they ever gonna open the bingo halls

  • Leeza
    August 11, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    We need to open the Casinos in Ontario. There are thousands of people working in this industry that are unemployed. If Restaurants can open, airlines are operating what is the difference? The large Casinos are very spacious. With proper social distancing between slots and seating at the tables it’s doable.

  • Really
    August 23, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    If school can open !!!! Why not bingo and casinos

  • Siva
    September 2, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Casinos are safe to open as it has huge space to accommodate its patron. Its high time for the premier gives green signal. It will help thousands of employees to get back to work. Save these jobs

  • Gail
    September 10, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    I’m 63 and love bingo so do a lot of younger people if bars can open why not bingo I wear a mask

  • sue landrith
    September 27, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    I am a Michigander ha my husband and I used to go once a week. This was our night out and we miss it very much. We live in our own home . please reopen the bingo halls .

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