British Columbia has officially reopened its casino properties following 16 months of gruelling shutdowns necessitated by the global pandemic. The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation owned and operated Elements Casino Surrey reopened its doors on 1 July restricted conditions, like a capacity limits as well as other strict health and safety procedures.
The province’s casinos and gambling halls have been shut down since March 2021, but with British Columbia moving to the third stage of its plan to revive the local economy; these venues can now welcome customers again, provided they observe health protocols.
A grand revival
Other casinos in the province that also reopened their doors on 1 July include the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, River Rock Casino and Resort, Elements Casino Victoria, Casino Nanaimo, and Chances Dawson Creek.
The casino closures created a cascade of financial difficulties for the corporation which were laid bare in its financial results for the first quarter of the year. The total influx of cash for the quarter came to CAD44.8 million, a mere fraction of the CAD552.2 million for the same period of the previous year.
Off to a running start
Chuck Keeling, a representative for Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, relayed that the reopening of the province’s casinos went as well as expected after such a long period of inactivity. He admitted that the occasion did present challenges as casino staff faced the dual tasks of rapidly learning the new health and safety rules, and blowing the dust off their old skills.
Keeling added that even though reduced capacity is being enforced, the casinos have reclaimed their electric energy as players streamed back into their favourite entertainment venues. The corporation has also taken the proactive measure of installing barriers to ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed. The provincial government hopes to have all venues return to their full capacity on 7 September if all goes well.