In Canada, the gambling industry is governed by the Criminal Code, an act of the Parliament of Canada. Gambling regulation is, however, mostly carried out at a provincial or territorial level. Matters of health are also managed and administered at a provincial or territorial level.
When the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on Canada became apparent in early 2020, it was the provincial and territorial agencies that swung into action. Within the space of two weeks, between March 15th and March 23rd, orders and directives were issued. All land-based gambling across Canada was shut down, with no specific date for a reopening.
Potential Reopening Plan Announced in British Columbia
The British Columbian provincial government has announced plans to reopen casinos and other gaming venues, with the potential resumption of business to start on July 1st. After more than a year of closures, this is welcome news for all casino owners. British Columbia’s Chances Casino Kelowna is incredibly excited about the prospect of things returning to normal.
Chances Casino has already been partially reopened. However, it was only for indoor and patio dining. The venue owner, Stan Walt, said he decided to take this action because it meant the staff would be able to reconnect with the work setting and responsibilities at work before the casino opened its doors for a full-scale relaunch.
During the weekend’s partial reopening, lucky guests were offered kiosks with complimentary scratch-and-win tickets.
Chances Casino Takes the Necessary Steps to Comply with Guidelines
The provincial government of British Columbia has issued new health and safety guidelines. Stan Walt has said that Chances has undergone a massive renovation to ensure it’s able to comply.
Previously, there were 348 slot machines on the floor at Chances Casino Kelowna, whereas now there are only 310. The arrangement of these slots across the 1,000 square feet of floor space means physical distancing between guests and patrons is now possible.
Walt went on to explain that he had managed to retain 15 members of the supervisory management team and hoped to see at least 60% of the former staff profile return to their former positions. At the time of speaking, however, he was unsure how many of the former employees had secured alternative employment.
The next step towards a full reopening is a schedule of in-depth training about the new health and safety protocols. Staff will have to follow these to ensure the venue can provide a safe and responsible environment for business and gaming activities.
Province Wide Closures Have Weighed Heavy
Both casinos and their employees have been feeling a tremendous amount of stress under the weight of province-wide closures since March last year.
A few weeks ago, New Westminster Starlight Casino staff released a heartfelt video titled “Don’t Forget About Casino Workers”. It includes two single mothers and other staff members sharing their experience with being left without an income for more than a year.
Mayor David Screech has also chosen to open up about the immense effect the casino closures have had on the region. According to him, the ongoing closures have cost the region at least CAN$2 million in lost gaming revenue.