The new Cascades Casino in the south end is proving to be an "ace in the hole" for City revenues.
At the grand opening Thursday afternoon, the first quarterly gaming revenue payment of $111,134 was presented from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to the City for its role in hosting the new facility.
This first payment is based on casino revenue generated from March 9 to March 31, the first 23 days the casino operated.
The size of the cheque surprised Mayor Al McDonald.
"We estimated that we were going to get in the range of one to two million a year. It could be because it's something new and a lot of people are coming in. But a lot of people are still afraid to go out so that might be an indication that we might be at the high end of the two million mark, so to answer your question, yes, I was surprised it was that much after just 23 days."
McDonald says the money will go into the city's reserve fund.
The new Cascades Casino North Bay was built by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited.
General Manager Mo Shulu told BayToday that the community has embraced the casino's arrival.
"It's been overwhelmingly positive support from the community. We've seen people of all ages and demographics and their patronage is so appreciated because we are a partner in this community and we want to see the best for North Bay, so we are very grateful."
McDonald agrees. Despite some opposition at the start, he says the community has welcomed it.
"Obviously there is a demand for this type of entertainment. We live in a country where we can have a difference of opinion and at the end of the day council made a decision and we moved forward which created all the jobs, the assessment plus percentage of the revenue. I haven't got one email or one call negative to the casino being here so far.'
“This incredible $41 million investment in North Bay will have a significant impact on the whole regional economy, especially as we recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic," stated MPP Vic Fedeli. "This new entertainment destination will mean hundreds of new, local jobs, enhance our vibrant tourism sector and become a regional landmark for generations to come.”
The new casino hired 200 employees, almost all of them local.
“This is a great day for North Bay and Gateway Casinos. I am proud to say, despite the challenges of Covid over the last two years, we finally reached the finish line. This new attraction is testimony to the resiliency and determination of a great many people who kept their focus and worked hard together to create a state-of-the-art entertainment destination for the City of North Bay. It really is a wonderful achievement,” said Gateway’s CEO, Tony Santo.
OLG shares proceeds of casino gaming with local communities.
These payments are based on Municipality Contribution Agreements, using a graduated scale of gaming revenue at the hosted site which is consistently applied across Ontario.
Under the agreement, municipalities receive:
- 5.25% on the first $65 million of slot revenue;
- 3 % on the next $135 million of slot revenue;
- 2.5% on the next $300 million of slot revenue;
- 0.5% on the slot revenue above $500 million; and
- 4.0% of table game revenue.
Payments are provided quarterly. The amount of these payments may vary within a given year depending on if/when a gaming site reaches these graduated revenue benchmarks.
Cascades Casino has 300 slots, six live gaming tables, and 10 virtual tables.