Point Edward’s casino has been temporarily renamed and its new owners expect to lay out renovation and possible expansion plans in the next few weeks
At that time, a new branding strategy will be announced and the permanent name released by British Columbia-based Gateway Casinos and Entertainment.
In the meantime, it will simply be known as Gateway Casino Point Edward.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Corporation turned ownership over to Gateway on May 9 for the Point Edward casino and five smaller gaming facilities at London’s Western Fair, Clinton, Dresden, Woodstock and Hanover. No financial terms have been released.
“Our next order of business is to finalize development plans for all our Southwestern Ontario gaming properties,” said Carrie Kormos, Gateway’s vice-president for marketing and communications.
Market assessments are being conducted to determine which one of Gateway’s four brands will be used in Point Edward, she said.
Gateway is the largest and most diversified gaming company in Canada. It operates 18 properties in western Canada and brands its facilities based, in part, on the size of the market. Once that’s determined, the company will decide the extent of renovations and expansion.
The company expects to spend $200 million to upgrade all six southwestern properties, Kormos said.
“In about a month, we’ll have more specifics,” she said, adding that Gateway often adds restaurant and entertainment facilities to its casinos.
Construction should begin as early as this year on at least one of the six newly purchased properties but the schedule has not been finalized and it’s not known if Point Edward will be among the first.
Point Edward is the biggest of the six Southwestern Ontario acquisitions, Kormos said, and currently the only one with table games.
“Point Edward has a spectacular setting on the waterfront and we’re definitely going to make improvements to make it a different and better experience,” she said of the aging building.
“We are also looking at more amenities for folks who may not enjoy gambling. Restaurants, bars and hotels are all amenities we look at when we do our assessment,” Kormos said.
The OLG has entered a 20-year contract for Gateway to own and operate the Point Edward casino. The contract guarantees all 325 jobs will be maintained with no changes for one year.
Kormos said the company anticipates creating more jobs.
The OLG has owned and operated all gaming facilities in Ontario since they opened in the 1990s. Four years ago, OLG began searching for private operators to manage them. However, the OLG will continue to regulate Ontario gaming and Gateway will need OLG approval for any changes.
Historically, the Village of Point Edward has collected approximately $2.3 million a year from the OLG for being a host municipality. That will not change, said Kormos.