Langley’s Cascades Casino has been closed for more than a year, but could re-open as soon as July 1 under Step 3 of the provincial re-opening plan announced on Tuesday.
A representative of Gateway Casinos, which operates Cascades, said more details were coming about the re-opening soon, but the company was “very excited” to see casinos included in the restart plan announcement.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone back, as early as July 1, 2021,” said Tanya Gabara, director of public relations for Gateway Casinos and Entertainment.
Casinos are one type of business that remained closed throughout the entire pandemic. Cascades and all other gaming establishments in British Columbia were ordered shuttered by midnight on Monday, March 16, 2020.
Although the Match Eatery and Atlas restaurants attached to the casino building has been open under the rules for food service, the actual casino has not re-opened its doors.
In May 2020, the government began working on a four-phase plan to re-open many businesses, and everything from restaurants to hair salons to schools saw modified resumption of services. But casinos never made the list, as the second and third waves hit in late fall and then in the spring.
“Our team has been working diligently for many months to make our facilities a safe environment for the return of both our guests and team members,” Gabara said. “Casinos are among the most highly regulated environments in the province and as such, are familiar with the implementation and enforcement of strict compliance requirements.”
That has left a major local employer closed for 15 months, and has meant the City of Langley was without a major source of revenue for capital projects.
Cascades directly contributes to Langley City by sharing 10 per cent of its net profits, as required under gaming regulations.
The City share, roughly around $6.4 million, has kept taxes 2.5 per cent lower than they would have been without the gaming revenue and additionally helped carry Langley City out of debt.
Cascades Casino money has also been used to carry out various projects including bridge deck repairs on 200th Street, Douglas Crescent rehabilitation between 204th Street and 208th Street, and work on 56th Avenue.
The planned re-opening is good news for the City, said Coun. Terri James.
She noted that staff have managed to put together a financial plan without the casino’s revenues, but a re-opening means that some capital projects that were put off may be able to get back on track sooner rather than later.
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