Casino properties in British Columbia have officially restarted operations after 16 months pause. One of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s Elements Casino Surrey has also reopened its doors for patrons on July 1. The property will be operating under a restricted player capacity and strict health and safety protocols in order to protect staff members and visitors of the venue.
All casino entities and gambling halls in British Columbia were closed down in March 2020, due to the occurrence of the unprecedented situation. But after a 16-months wait, the province is moving into Stage 3 of its economic reopening plan, which allows casinos to restart operations in reduced capacity and visitor’s volume.
July 1 Reopening
Chuck Keeling, spokesman for Great Canadian Gaming Corporation stated that the reopening of the company’s casinos in B.C. went as well as it could after being closed down for almost a year and a half. Mr. Keeling explained that the reopening is difficult as due to the long pause staff must brush up on old skills and learn about the new mandatory health and safety rules.
Mr. Keeling continued by saying that despite the reduced capacity the atmosphere at the casino was electric and everyone was pleased to have come back. In order to stop the spread of the virus, the company has installed the needed social distancing measures such as plexiglass barriers, improved sanitation, and altered table-games offerings. Visitors and staff must also wear a protective mask.
According to the provincial government’s restart plan, if there are no more setbacks and obstacles casinos will be able to return to their full capacity with no barriers on September 7. However, Mr. Keeling stated that the company is happy to reopen despite the reduced capacity and that it had put a tremendous amount of work into the reopening as the restart plan was revealed on May 25.
General Manager of Elements Casino Surrey, Michael Worth informed that the property’s buffet is not yet reopened but it should be by September 7. However, there are food and drinks amenities as Foodies is operational. Currently, slot machines are available 24/7, but table games are limited from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday
The gaming corporation has also reopened several other of its casino properties in British Columbia. On July 1, the company has also relaunched operations at its River Rock Casino and Resort, Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, Elements Casino Victoria, Casino Nanaimo, Elements Casino Chilliwack, Hastings Racecourse, Chances Maple Ridge, and Chances Dawson Creek. All of which operating in reduced capacity and strict health and safety provisions.
Due to the closure of the company’s casinos across Canada, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has endured a rather financially difficult 15 months. In May, the gaming conglomerate published its financial results for the first quarter of 2021. For Q1 this year the firm has recorded a negative Free Cash Flow of CA$70.5 million, which was significantly less in Q1 2021. This year’s quarter also reports a Cash inflow of CA$44.8 million which was CA$552.2 million during Q1 of 2020.
Source: Jordan, Malin “Elements Casino opened July 1”, Surrey Now-Leader, July 2, 2021