Gambling in its various forms has been among Canada’s most popular pastimes since time immemorial. What has made Canadian land-based casino industry so attractive is the country’s balanced approach to the industry. Unlike many other countries around the world, which are swinging from one extreme to the other in terms of gambling legislation, Canada has established a sound regulatory framework. The country’s liberal approach to the casino gambling contributed to the country’s robust gaming industry, which has attracted the attention of many foreign visitors, and more particularly high rollers from China.
Industry insiders believe that the flow of tourists is the nexus between gambling industry and money laundering activities. The self-regulated land-based gambling industry at British Columbia has unintentionally helped organized cartels to launder money derived from illegal activities. In September this year, the newly-elected B.C. government made public a casino report that reveals suspicious money transactions at River Rock Casino. The bombshell rocked the boat. Experts are sure that lax anti-money laundering regulation is the reason for the drastic increase in the number of suspicious transactions at B.C.’s casinos. That may only be the tip of the iceberg, but it already has its negative impact on the land-based casino industry in the province.
For years, the casino industry in Canada has been struggling to keep pace with the latest tendencies. Unfortunately, its attempts remained unsuccessful as the country needed, and still needs, to fight with rampant money laundering at casinos. As if that is not enough, the worn-out gambling facilities and the unregulated online gambling industry has turned into the industry’s biggest scourge. It is important to note that the gambling industry is an important tax contributor, but only when it performs well.
Being aware of this fact, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG), the province’s gambling watchdog, has announced its decision to entrust the Greater Toronto Area’s gambling sector in the hands of private operators. OLG’s idea sprung to life as part of a modernization strategy aiming at reviving Canadian gambling industry. At present, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation and Brookfield Business Partners L.P. are among the companies to take over the day-to-day operations of certain gaming facilities in the Greater Toronto Area. The new operators have already presented their idea for a potential cure of the Canadian land-based gambling industry.
New casino projects are a sure sign of the maturing of the casino industry and its revival. Hence, it is important to offer a quick look at the casino projects in order to evaluate Canada’s land-based casino industry and its performance.
Full-Fledged Parq Vancouver Resort and Casino
Speaking of the latest casino projects and developments, the opening of the C$700-million Parq Vancouver urban casino resort made the headlines. The resort spreads over 700,000 square feet of land and it features a number of gambling and non-gambling entertainments. The complex opened doors on 29th September this year and it is recognized to be the largest-ever private development in the British Columbia province. On multiple occasions, Casino Reports provided its readers with a complete information regarding the casino’s selection of offerings.
The idea for the construction of new casino complex was swirling in the air since 2006, when the Las Vegas-headquartered gambling operator Paragon Gaming bought Edgewater Casino for the total amount of C$43 million. The gambling operator was tasked with saving Edgewater Casino from bankruptcy.
Niagara Casino to Update Its Look
Niagara Casino, located in Ontario, also unveiled a revamp project to update its appearance. The casino operator announced that it is to invest C$7 million in the reconstruction project of its Niagara Casino, which was initially meant to be a temporary casino until the permanent facility is being built. The once permanent casino is currently undergoing a major renovation project. It is important to note that the casino industry in the area is thriving and it is crucial for casino operators to keep pace with the rivals and stay ahead of the competition.
Some time ago, the President of Niagara Casino revealed some additional details regarding the redevelopment project. The casino operator is to invest heavily in the latest gaming options such as Xbox and other skill-based games. Apart from that, the casino operator is aiming at turning the casino into the perfect spot for the sports fans, as the facility is to offer a sports book.
Gateway’s Kingsway Entertainment District Project
Even though Kingsway Entertainment District is still not a done deal, the casino project seems to be on its way to pave the way for its construction. The facility is said to feature a hotel, a gambling area and many other non-gambling amenities such as dining area, meeting rooms, bars and open green spaces. Canadian gambling operator Gateway Casinos and Entertainment announced that Kingsway Entertainment District is scheduled to open doors in April 2020.
It is important to note that the casino project is to come with a city improvement, and more precisely a new arena. The only obstacle for the construction of Kingsway Entertainment District remains the anti-casino expansion group called Casino Free Sudbury. However, the city councilors already approved the casino expansion project and it seems that Kingsway Entertainment District will be, most probably, materialized.
Economic Benefits to Influence Canada’s Land-Based Casino Industry
Plans to expand casino industry are usually controversial and not unanimously accepted. With so much casino projects on the way, it can be concluded that Canadian gambling industry is rebounding. Speaking of casino expansion, people rarely consider all the beneficial effects of gambling. Most of the attention is focused on the myth that gambling is sinful and it leads to a number of social problems. Every coin has its two sides, so is the gambling. But to decide if the risk is worth it – we need to ask ourselves one important question: if the benefits of casino industry outweigh the costs?
Casino opponents often argue that the casino expansion comes at a very high price, which the people should pay. What is more is that the construction of every casino brings about to the demolition of the public infrastructure, traffic jams, air pollution, and overcrowding. Nevertheless, many countries decided to legalize the provision of gambling services in an attempt to bring back the economic mojo of their governments. The gambling industry has become a highly profitable sector of the economy, only if it is performing satisfactorily. Needless to say, the new casino developments are believed to draw the attention of foreign gamblers with deep pockets.
Some time ago, Ontario Lottery Corp. (OLG) recognized the need of modernization in order to increase net profits to the province. Currently, it seems that the things have taken the right turn and the Canadian gambling industry will soon be at its peak. In 2015, gaming modernization experienced a strong boost, after OLG awarded the first Gaming Bundle to Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. According to various statistics, Canada’s gambling industry (including online gambling) was worth $5.7 billion in 2010. In 2015, it was estimated that Canada’s gambling rose up to $6.2 billion. For a country with a population of a bit more than 36 million people, the casino industry is recovering pretty fast.
The rapid growth of the gaming market in Canada outlines a bright future for the further development of the industry. Industry insiders often refer to the Canadian casino industry as “buoyant” due to its progressive character.