Thousands of people will hear the tingling of the roulette ball, the shouting and general hoopla at the craps table, the bells and whistles from the bank of slots games, and the general atmosphere of gaming at its best as the new casino in the town of Peterborough, Ontario gets set to welcome visitors from many points east and west in Canada to the casino which will open for gaming on October 15.
The casino will be relatively small when compared with some of the massive casinos and resorts that have been opened in North America and around the world in recent years. Nevertheless, it is set to serve an urban and semi-urban population form Niagara to Montreal.
The casino will cover about 50,000 square feet. Its owners are calling it a full service casino by which we assume they mean that it will have all of the more well-known casino games. The complex will also feature two restaurants, one of which is a large buffet style restaurant.
Midway between the Big Urban Centers
The owners hope that its location in Peterborough, about halfway between Ottawa and Toronto and easy driving from Montreal will draw Canadians away from online gaming. One of the big draws in online gaming is the many online casino bonuses players can access almost any day of the week.
A land based casino is more limited in the types of incentives they can offer players but the new Peterborough casino is banking on a large volume of gaming choices plus ancillary amenities such as the restaurants, pubs, plus the amenities offered by the hotel being built next to the casino.
Part of a Chain Yet a Local Hotel
The hotel is part of the Hampton Inn and Suites chain. It will have a modest 100 suites, conference and meeting center, pool, and gym. As such, the casino and hotel taken together constitute an Integrated Resort of sorts albeit not one that could compete with the big Integrated Resorts such as the ones recently opened in Atlantic City and the Catskill Mountains.
Since Peterborough is centrally located and an easy drive from Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, most gamers are expected to come for the weekend or for the one day.
Not Always Smooth Sailing
A local group opposed to the casino called No Casino Peterborough strove mightily to prevent it from being built. Roy Brady led the group. As far back as 2015, he went to court to try to get the casino stopped or at least stalled. At the time, he claimed that the city had violated local law by holding a closed door meeting to discuss the casino.
At that closed door meeting, the city council chose an area in the southern part of Peterborough to be the site of the future casino. Brady also cited the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act which may apply in this case because the mayor, Daryl Bennett and his brother own a lot of land near the site of the casino.
Brady and his group lost their fight and the casino is set to open but he says that he will continue to keep a close eye on the casino. He said, “We’re going to make sure it’s run properly. That labor is treated properly. That social help that’s promised is followed. So the casino needs to run properly according to the law and morality.”
The mention of morality likely points to the main cause of opposition to the casino. Local casino operators have faced such opposition groups in many places in North America. Local residents are often concerned about the type of people the casino might attract. It is up to the casino that the patrons stay sober, that responsible gaming protocols are followed, and that security is kept at a high standard.
If families are to come to the hotel for the pool and other family friendly amenities, they need to be sure that there will not be activity at the casino that would offend them or that they would rather their children not be exposed to.
Hoping to Put Peterborough on the Map
Every year thousands of people drive past Peterborough on their way east or west. There has been a longstanding complaint that the city doesn’t have enough hotel rooms for people who want to stay overnight. This has been a supply and demand issue for years.
The new hotel will have only 100 suites so it is not clear how much it can alleviate the shortfall in the number of hotel rooms available to travelers. Still, by being close to the casino—across the street as it were—many hope that the combination of a new hotel, part of a chain with a good reputation, and having facilities for conventions and smaller business meetings, plus a pool for families might make it more convenient for travelers to stay overnight in Peterborough.
Financial Boon to the City
In addition to increased revenue from everything travelers who stop and stay the night buy, the city will receive about $6 million annually from slots games. The mayor has promised to use the money for appropriate projects serving the community.
The casino will employ 300 people. As with all new projects, there are workers who fear that even as the casino hires many new employees, they will lose their jobs at Kawartha Downs Harness Racing Track. At this time, the union had secured promises that 30 people employed at Kawartha Downs in food and drink services and in security would keep their jobs.
The race track has been losing customers for years and faces closure even without the casino. The casino may speed up the process so the workers at the race track are concerned. As for the many people who came looking for a job when the casino held a job fair, the new casino may be the start of new long term gainful employment.
There may be another conflict of interest involved as the company that owns the casino, Great Canadian Gaming, had taken over operation of slots machines at Kawartha Race Track from Ontario Lottery and Gaming shortly before Great Canadian Gaming announced its intention to build a casino in Peterborough.
A Newsworthy Item
It is truly newsworthy that a casino and hotel complex is being built in a drive by town in southern Ontario. That the town is halfway between Niagara and Montreal is one of the reasons that people usually drive past and also, ironically, the reason the hotel and casino are being built there.