The upcoming casino resort in the Durham Region will be built in the city of Pickering and its developer announced on Tuesday that it is now proceeding towards municipal permitting. Ontario Gaming GTA L.P., the company behind the project, said that the currently operating Casino Ajax will relocate to the new gambling facility when it opens in late 2019.
Developers of the future casino resort are now applying for city permits as the location of the property was just chosen after months of uncertainty over the future of the existing casino in Ajax. Durham Live, the name of the resort, will be located off of Highway 401 and on the Pickering side of the border between Pickering and Ajax. It will house not only a full-fledged casino but also hotels, an indoor water park, convention space, as well as film studios. The complex is expected to create around 2,000 jobs and become a major gambling and tourist destination in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The organization managing this large project is Ontario Gaming GTA Limited Partnership and it was founded as a partnership between Toronto-based Brookfield Business Partners and Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, a major gambling and hospitality operator in the country. In fact, Great Canadian Gaming has 25 properties across Canada and the U.S. Last year, its Ontario Gaming GTA L.P. (OGGLP) was chosen by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) as the exclusive operator of three gambling venues in GTA for a period of 22 years.
These facilities are Casino Woodbine, Casino Ajax, and Great Blue Heron Casino, while the OGGLP has the right to operate only one casino venue in the Durham Region. This means that there cannot be more than one casino for Pickering, Ajax, and Whitby. However, the company is planning an expansion and it comes in the form of Durham Live – the large gambling, retail and hospitality complex which is expected to transform the local economy when it opens.
What is Planned for Durham Live?
Until now, the location of the new casino was not certain with many residents of Ajax expressing concern for their casino. The developer, however, explains that all employees of the existing Casino Ajax will be transferred to the new facility when it opens in late 2019. In addition to them, the property will employ another 1,700 people from the region. This was announced by Rod Baker, President and CEO of Great Canadian Gaming in the Tuesday news release.
The investment worth millions of dollars will result in more construction and operations jobs for the people in Ajax and Pickering, a great boost to the tourism industry, and of course, government revenues, Baker adds. Durham Live is designed as a cultural, tourist and commercial centre in the Durham Region. It will come with a large casino, at least two hotels, retail and meeting space, an indoor water park, food outlets and according to the news release, film studios.
Developers at OGGLP expect the new casino and hotel complex to have a huge impact on the local communities and not just in Pickering but in Ajax, as well. The future resort could create up to 10,000 local jobs indirectly, the company says, while local officials are even more optimistic. Councillor David Pickles explains that the province of Ontario and OLG are planning an improved gambling operation in the region and although Casino Ajax has contributed around $75 million since it opened, the new casino will perform better. According to him, Durham Live in Pickering could create up to 15,000 jobs and generate government revenue of $25 million a year.