Ontario Construction News staff writer
Gateway Casino and Entertainment’s newest venue – dubbed a “super Casino” – is expected to generate about $7 million annually for the city – $2.5 million from taxes and $4.5 million from the Ontario and Lottery Gaming Corp.
It is scheduled to open in 2021.
The nearly 10,000-square-metre operation will include about 900 slot machines and 40 live table games. When the new casino opens, slots and table games at the Western Fair will be shut down and workers transferred to the new site.
The official ground-breaking ceremony of Starlight Casino London is about to take place by the end of January at the Wonderland Road South site.
Over the next few weeks, ground preparation will be completed.
It’s a project that was delayed by the negotiation process coming to a halt in 2018, because the operator was unable to deliver a mutually “beneficial plan for action” with the city
The original plan envisaged a casino adjacent to Western Fair District, which was expected to boost the local horse racing scene while introducing a wide array of gambling opportunities to the region. Gateway Casinos wanted an independent casino location with its signature brand, as this fitted well in its grand scheme and portfolio. Rob Mitchell, Gateway Casinos Spokesperson, revealed more about the project.
City Council voted last summer of 2019 to approve the new plan.
Gateway officials are calling the London casino its “most ambitious site.”
Crews recently demolished the last buildings remaining on the site from N-J Spivak Ltd., which operated a concrete business on the property. Gateway has also erected fencing and construction giant EllisDon has trailers on site.
Councillors are gambling that the new casino will spike spin-off business across the city.
Gateway negotiated for a $140-million casino and hotel complex at Western Fair District for more than two years before purchasing the Wonderland Road site, near Highway 401.
The initial application to rezone the site deadlocked council’s planning committee, but was later approved at city council, finally paving the way for the development.
It has been a busy year for the British Columbia-based casino giant with Cascades Casino in Chatham opening last summer and plans to revamp its Hiawatha Horse Park race track in Sarnia.
“We do a weekly conference call to get a sense of what is happening in the market, and in general we have noticed a real uptick in business,” said Mitchell.
“There has been a spike in attendance.”