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North Bay's 'Cascades Casino' to open in spring of 2020

Will be branded as Cascades Casino and located on Pinewood Park Drive
20181127 gateway casino location turl
The proposed site of Gateway's North Bay Casino. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

Gateway Casinos and Entertainment is aiming for the spring of 2020 to open its new casino in North Bay.

Branded as "Cascades Casino" the facility will contain approximately 14,100 square feet of gaming space, including 300 slot machines and 10 table games.

The 37,000 square foot building, to be located on a seven-acre parcel of land bordered by Pinewood Park Drive, Highway 11 and the PetroCanada station in the city's south end, will contain a sports bar called MATCH, and a restaurant called The Buffet.

Gateway plans capital expenditures of $31.3 million to get the building up and running.

See: Gateway Casino has big plans for North Bay

BayToday found the information in an initial public offering (IPO) of Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on November 20.

See the full document here.

On its website, the MATCH Eatery & Public House says it combines "the welcoming and social traditions of a neighbourhood pub with the high-energy of a lively sports bar. The big game, family celebrations, or social gatherings with friends... our casual and upbeat atmosphere is ideal for any occasion. Whatever your great night out looks like, we'll match it with our creative comfort food, cold libations, and exciting entertainment."

"MATCH serves as an important attractor in local markets, providing a family-friendly environment with live entertainment, a focus on sports programming and contests, and outdoor patio spaces positioned at the front of properties where possible," says the document.

The IPO says the company plans to optimize floor layout and implement successful branding and food and beverage strategies in order to "transform our Ontario properties into the vibrant local entertainment destinations for which our brands are already well known."

The document claims North Bay contains approximately 56,000 eligible adult gamers, comprising 81 per cent of the overall population.

While it doesn't address the number of employees to be hired, it does caution that if they are unable to attract and retain qualified and skilled employees, its ability to effectively operate the properties may be impaired.

"Our businesses are dependent upon attracting and retaining a large number of skilled employees who reflect our brand images and cultures. Many of these employees are in entry-level or part-time positions with historically high rates of turnover. If we are unable to hire, train and retain employees capable of consistently providing a high level of service to our customers, we may not be able to maintain our competitive strength in offering our customers a favorable gaming experience or to fully realize the benefits expected to result from our formal customer service initiatives and targeted marketing initiatives, which could lead to decreased foot traffic, as well as to increased costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

"Our ability to meet our labour needs while controlling the costs associated with hiring and training new employees is subject to external factors such as unemployment levels, prevailing wage rates, minimum wage legislation and changing demographics in Canada. In particular, recently enacted and proposed minimum wage increases in several provinces of Canada will have an impact on labour costs and our labour force, where the applicable legislation is enacted."

Ontario is Canada’s largest gaming market and North America’s fourth-largest gaming market, generating $3.46 billion in annual casino Win and $7.5 billion in total revenue (gaming and non-gaming) for the year ended March 31, 2017.

According to the OLG, in the fiscal year 2017–18, it generated approximately $7.58 billion in total revenue and approximately $2.49 billion in net profit for the province of Ontario. It says 47 per cent of total revenue was generated from land-based gaming and 37.7 million patrons visited Ontario’s land-based gaming facilities.

Gateway says it has proven strategies to keep you coming back.

"To serve our primarily local gaming customers, we integrate gaming, F&B and other entertainment offerings to create exciting local entertainment destinations. In particular, we design marketing strategies to attract new or casual players to our properties while increasing frequency of visit and spend per visit of our core gaming customer segment. This also allows us to diversify our revenue streams.

"Our gaming management system, or GMS, is our single most powerful marketing and analytics tool. It allows us to analyze player data to better understand our customers so that we can tailor marketing initiatives and rewards to individual players based on their playing patterns. We are in the process of implementing a new GMS in Ontario.

"In Ontario, we currently participate in the OLG’s 'Winner’s Circle' program at sites that have not converted to our GMS. Under this program, participants earn tier points and cashback points based on their play at our Ontario properties (1 of each point per $10 played at slots, $20 played at video poker and $40 played on select electronic table games). Tier points allow players to earn cashback and F&B comps that increase based on whether they are in the 'Rewards', 'Silver' or 'Gold' tier. We are in the process of launching our own proprietary loyalty program in Ontario, called My Club Rewards."

The IPO also contains a warning about construction timelines, however, as municipalities have the right to restrict or prohibit gaming properties, including slot machines, within their boundaries.

"Gaming proposals are often controversial land use issues and can be highly contested by local politicians, residents and other intervenors. In the event that a host municipality passes a by-law or zoning change prohibiting or restricting gaming properties, our business, financial conditions, and future prospects would be adversely affected."

North Bay has already passed a bylaw allowing casinos in the Pinewood Drive area.