The site plan for the proposed Cascades Casino in Chatham was officially approved by City Council on Monday, allowing the construction of approximately 45,000-sq.ft. gaming facility complete with two restaurants and a patio. Gateway Casinos and Entertainment’s project will replace the existing slots in Dresden with a new and larger casino that will cost around CA$36 million according to estimates.
At a meeting Monday evening, councillors unanimously voted in favour of the application for site plan control for the proposed Cascades Casino Chatham. The approval by the Municipality of Chatham-Kent permits the building of the new facility at 615 Richmond St. in Chatham, which is currently a vacant lot at the site of the former Wheel Inn Hotel. The planned property will be 45,280 square feet and will feature around 300 slots and more than 10 gaming tables, pending further approvals. The process of land acquisition is also expected to be completed in the coming months, as the construction of the building is expected to start by this summer.
The site plan also includes 345 standard parking spaces, as well as 10 barrier-free parking spaces and 7 coach parking spaces. The property will also feature Gateway’s branded restaurants, MATCH Eatery & Public House and The Buffet. The project will require an investment of $36 million but is expected to contribute to the local economy by creating approximately 200 new jobs. Last month, Gateway revealed details of the plan, adding that while the Chatham property is under construction, the Dresden facility will be operating. However, it is expected to close in 2020 when the new, larger casino will be open and fully operational with a grand opening planned for mid-2019. Employees at the current slots facility in Dresden will be able to move to the new Chatham casino.
$36 Million Investment to Bring More Money to City Coffers
During a joint presentation last month, representatives of Gateway Casinos and Entertainment and Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope expressed their confidence in the new project. Mayor Hope said that as the largest gaming company in Canada, Gateway is the best partner the community could have. He believes that the larger casino operation will bring more money to city coffers. Others said that the modern building will also enhance Chatham’s image as a tourist destination. According to Chatham Councillor Derek Robertson, the most logical location for Gateway’s casino is precisely the proposed site besides the John D. Bradley Convention Centre as it is in the urban centre of the city.
In addition, the expanded gaming offering should provide the city with more funds from the revenue sharing agreement. According to data by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the Municipality of Chatham-Kent received from the agency $700,000 for hosting Gateway Casinos Dresden in the 2016/2017 fiscal year. For the first three months of 2018, Chatham-Kent was paid more than $190,000 in hosting fees, the latest figures reveal. Since April 2001, the OLG has paid the municipality more than $11 million in non-tax gaming revenue. Currently, Gateway Casino Dresden features 148 slot machines, while in comparison, the proposal for Cascades Casino Chatham includes more than 300 slots and gaming tables.