Gateway Casinos’ plans to establish a $60-million grand casino at the Kingsway Entertainment District in Ontario running into a snap: a big one called a pandemic. The start date is now undetermined.
According to a spokesperson, Robert Mitchell, it is par for the course.
“I can’t tell you more about Sudbury at this time, but you understand the challenges we, and the entire hospitality industry, face as a consequence of the COVID pandemic.”
The company looks forward to resuming operations across the country along with new developments in the coming year.
Afterall, all the proper decisions and approvals have been made despite appeals several years ago regarding KED area rezoning. Sudbury had won a court ruling in favor of a $100 million arena and events center. It would include Gateway Casinos major project.
The LPAT process is finally complete, but it is still premature to discuss when the doors of a new casino in Sudbury will be opening. There is also the possibility the LPAT decision may yet be appealed. Mitchell goes on to comment,
Our resources are focused on reopening and adjusting to the challenges of the ‘new normal’… it is difficult to forecast when development projects can resume. All these concerns impact the planning, timing and design of projects, including Sudbury.”
As a result of COVID-19, 2020 was a challenging year for Gateway. It had to shutter all of its operations across Canada.
That means 28 casinos, nearly 100 restaurants and other amenities, including hotels and entertainment centers.
Finally in October, some venues reopened on a limited basis such at Sudbury Downs when the slots became active. But the second lockdown imposed by the government meant that the lights went out again – perhaps indefinitely. Mitchell bemoans the results.
“Sadly, this meant putting 90 percent of our employees on emergency leave — almost 8,000 employees — most of whom have not had a workplace to return to since March.”
Dario Zulich, has helped drive the KED. He noted that are several options on the table, especially since the dismissal of the appeals by the LPAT. Major hotel chains are waiting in the wings to become part of the massive project.
According to Zulich entertainment district will attract people from around the country and the world. They will come for business conferences, trade shows, sporting events and general tourism.
The hope is that the KED will generate millions of dollars for Greater Sudbury and create a large number of new jobs.
“We will have to make some serious decisions in the next little while
but in the meantime, the good news is we have a lot of options.”