The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) issued an update Tuesday, reminding all casino operators in the province that the health and safety of customers, employees and communities remain its top priority. The announcement from the OLG is related to the latest development in Ontario where the government allowed certain businesses to re-open, including casinos and charitable gaming centres.
No More than 50 People Inside
As part of Stage 3 of its business re-opening plans, casinos in certain regions in Ontario will be allowed to resume operations, albeit with some restrictions applied. The gaming facilities will have their capacity reduced to no more than 50 people at any given time, all of which will have to wear protective masks or another type of facial covering, and visitors will have to keep 2m physical distance from each other all the time. Besides that, no casino will be allowed to offer table games for now.
Casinos that will be allowed to resume operations have been selected according to the specific risk assigned to each region within the province, strictly following advice from public health officials, as progression to Stage 3 will be consistent with the approach undertaken regionally during Stage 2.
Locations Eligible to Reopen
All gaming properties in the East and West GTA Bundles will all be allowed to re-open. These include casinos in Kawartha, Belleville, Peterborough and Thousand Islands, for the East, and Branford and Grand River, for the West GTA Bundle. Gaming venues in these two bundles are operated by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.
Eligible casinos to resume operations will also be all in the North Bundle, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Thunder Bay, and the Central Bundle, Rama and Innisfil, as well as most of the casinos in the Southwest Bundle, Clinton, Hanover, Woodstock, Chatham and London. These gaming properties are serviced by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment.
Rideau Carleton Casino, located in Ottawa and operated by HR Ottawa will also be eligible to resume operations, provided that it is ready to implement the requirements for reopening. All casinos need to have a safety plan for the site in place, which must be reviewed by an appropriate expert and submitted to the regulatory body, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
Depending on the level of preparedness of each gaming venue and charitable gaming centre to operate under the mandatory restrictions, their service providers will set re-opening dates individually, and will communicate these within the communities.
Casinos in Ontario have been closed since March 16 and in June, the President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) Paul Burns participated in a briefing day before the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee, claiming casinos in the province were ready to re-open, asking the committee to allow them to resume business earlier.