Gateway finds huge demand for new North Bay casino

A month after the North Bay Cascades Casino opened to the public, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment say the demand from the local community has “exceeded our wildest dreams”.

The new casino opened in a soft launch on March 9 and at full capacity weeks later nearly three years after it had broken ground. It was initially supposed to be open in summer 2020 before the pandemic derailed that timeline, causing an almost two-year delay in the opening of the casino.

CTV News reports that since that soft launch, the slots have been at full capacity on a daily basis. The $41 million facility features 300 slots, six live tables, and 10 virtual tables, and created 200 new jobs. 

“Visitation has exceeded our wildest dreams,” Gateway Casinos spokesman Rob Mitchell told CTV News. “We’re drawing people from all over the place. There’s a great curiosity factor in a new casino. We’re starting to establish our regulars.”

Officials from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) along with Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli presented the City of North Bay with a cheque for $111,000 this week, representing the city’s share of revenue generated from March 9-31. More money will be shared with the city on a quarterly basis under a municipal contribution agreement, which sees municipalities receive 5.25 per cent of the proceeds of casino gaming on the first $65 million of slot revenue, three per cent on the next $135 million, 2.5 per cent on the next $300 million of slot revenue, and 0.5 per cent on slot revenue above $500 million, as well as four per cent of table game revenue.

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald told Bay Today that the size of the cheque from the casino’s first weeks of activity same as a shock. “I was surprised it was that much after just 23 days… Obviously, there is a demand for this type of entertainment… I haven’t got one email or one call negative to the casino being here so far.”

The casino’s General Manager Mo Shulu told BayToday that the casino has had “overwhelmingly positive support” from the community. “We’ve seen people of all ages and demographics and their patronage is so appreciated because we are a partner in this community and we want to see the best for North Bay, so we are very grateful.”

McDonald added that the City is anticipating receiving between $1 million and $2 million each and every year as a result of the casino’s activities. “What we’re going to do is put the money into a reserve and the next council will set the policy on how they want to invest the money moving forward,” he told CTV News.

Gateway has other casino projects in Ontario in the works, including one in Sudbury at the Kingsway Entertainment District development.

The developer of that project, Dario Zulich, said that visiting the North Bay casino has made him even more excited to eventually unveil Sudbury’s. “Sudbury will not regret this.”

Another, in Kenora, has been approved but has not yet begun construction.

Image: MPP Vic Fedeli
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