The pandemic has changed the face of gambling, particularly at in-person venues. Think of all the physical changes inside a casino what with plastic shields to ensure social distancing.
Treasure Cove Casino is no exception. Fewer machines are in operation and an eerie quiet reigns. In fact, the parking lot is never full these days. There are few players in sight overall.
Since the onset of COVID, no one has been calling out bingo games. The roulette wheels are not moving and no poker decks are being shuffled. According to owner, John Major,
“It’s up to the lottery commission and the province to decide if we’re allowed
to open. I expect when we do open, we will probably open with limited capacity.”
Major has no idea when that will be and he doesn’t want to guess. “Maybe we’ll be shut down until it doesn’t matter anymore,” he said.
It is up to the provincial health office to give the green light for the 250 Treasure Cove employees to return to their jobs. Major said some staff have found other employment or are collecting insurance.
Apparently, there will be an extension of income assistance programs until the pandemic wants.
I’m just very happy that vaccines have been developed. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine they expect to be approved – a single-dose vaccine that doesn’t need extra cooling for storage. It would be a different issue if they didn’t have vaccine for it.”
The dominance of slot machines on the casino floor have been diminished as more space has been allotted to their placement. The lounge and conference areas are quiet.
Sadly, the Treasure Cove’s had planned a new show lounge with better acoustics and lighting two years ago in response to growing demand. Of course, construction has been put on hold as the pandemic has frozen all new ideas. There is no current need for increasing seating capacity and attract A-list entertainment.
Of note, Treasure Cove was known to provide conference and charitable event space to raise money for hospital stays outside of the city. The venue was once a huge draw, earning revenues in the fifty millions. It was the ninth most lucrative casino in British Columbia.
Treasure Cove opened on Sept. 16, 2004. In 2010/ On July 13, 2019, it paid out Canada’s highest-ever slot machine payday when Marlyne Dumoulin of Prince George bet $3 and garnered a $2.15 million Powerbucks prize.
Six weeks later, Britanny Hammell of Prince George won $1.06 million tapping the same Powerbucks national jackpot.
Let’s hope everything will get back to normal and more lucky players will become millionaires.