Canada has already started recommencing many business operations across the country, and some provinces have already reopened its land-based casino facilities. But that has not been quite the case with British Columbia’s gaming sector. Casinos in the province closed down almost a year ago and gambling regulators have no clue whether they will reopen any time soon.
Gamblers in the province have not been able to set foot in a brick-and-mortar casino for quite a while leading to some concerns in industry’s regulators and its many fans. Due to the implementation of lockdown restrictions the province’s casinos were shut down on March 16, 2020, by Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. But there is currently no firm confirmation or info if the properties will be able to reopen imminently.
Positive Ongoing Talks
Stewart Groumoutis, director of eGaming operations of the British Columba Lottery Corporation, stated that the Crown is cooperating with industry regulators, WorkSafeBC, and the provincial health officer on working out a possible reopening date and working conditions. According to him all parties involved are aware that the reopening should happen and discussions about it are very positive.
Due to the social distancing protocols, many casino operators have conducted a rearrangement of their properties by removing gaming equipment such as slot machines in order to provide the needed space. That was the case with Stan Walt independent owner of Chances Gaming in Kelowna who has reorganized his casino venue, costing him a grand total of CA$2 million.
According to Mr. Walt, the rearrangement of the gaming facility saw the removal of around 350 slot machines and 400 bingo seats. There are now 300 slot machines on the main floor that have been physically distanced from each other. Mr. Walt stated that due to the reorganization he had lost around 50 slot machines, 400 bingo seats.
Additionally, in order to clear the air on a regular basis, the property had its dormant ventilation system re-enabled. This will be able to clear the air of the premises around six times per hour, replacing it with fresh outside air. Mr. Walt is hopeful that the gaming facility will be able to welcome around 150 guests at a time with its new working conditions.
New Table Games
Prior to the March 2020 shutting down of gambling venues in the country, the Chances Kelowna gaming property has received a green light from the province’s Crown agency to expands its table game offerings. However, city rivals of Playtime Casino claimed that such expansion would lead to market stealing from the Kelowna venue. Previously the casino was known for its great offerings of bingo games but now players can enjoy a much broader variety of table games.
City Council Approves
The proposed expansion of the table game offerings at the gambling venue had received major support before its approval by the Crown corporation in 2020. The City Council of Kelowna has also voiced its backing of the increasing variety of table games, according to the city’s management such expansion will provide more diverse gaming possibilities and bring more visitors to the region.
Source: Moore, Wayne “B.C. casino operators unsure when they’ll be able to reopen”, Vancouver is Awesome, March 4, 2021