We reached out to François to learn more about the Casino de Montréal's transformation and the future of Quebec's gambling industry.
What were the circumstances that led to the Casino de montréal first opening its doors?
The Société des casinos du Québec was created following a government decree in December 1992. The Casino de Montréal opened on October 9, 1993, in the transformed former Pavillon de la France, which was built for the 1967 World’s Fair.
At the time, it was to meet growing demand by Quebecers for casino games. We estimated that they spent $135 million annually in casinos beyond our borders. Opening our casino created real excitement. We had estimated patronage would be around 5,000 visits per day, but that turned out to be far from reality, as at the end of the first year of operations, 12,000 visits each day were being recorded.
What is the scope of the modernization work?
The challenge we have taken on is colossal. We conducted renovation work over four years while keeping the casino open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During all that time, we did not stop operating for a single minute. We have to credit the incredible ingenuity of our staff and general contractor Pomerleau for that feat. Together, they were able to find original solutions to carry out the work and minimize impact on customers. Schedules and budgets were scrupulously met.
What is in store for customers once renovations are complete in the fall?
Each visit will be a journey filled with novel moments. To help us in this task, we hired well-known Montréal design, architecture, and creative professionals. They helped us plan a unique customer experience. Visitors will be able to choose from a variety of atmospheres according to their mood, whether they come alone, as a couple, or with friends. They will be able to go from a lively environment to a cozier atmosphere. Montréal firm Moment Factory, which specializes in designing multimedia environments, with the help of Solotech for the sound component, created ambiance concepts for us that will be projected on a 45- foot wide by 70- foot high wall. The effects are spectacular.
Customers will also have access to three mega structures that are literally suspended in the air. Inside, they will enjoy areas designed for relaxation and entertainment.
Finally, we have completely reorganized food services by bringing them together on Level 5 of our building to provide culinary experiences for every taste.