Both Niagara Falls casinos eligible to reopen in Stage Three – but will they?
Published July 7, 2021 at 8:05 pm
When Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino reopened on June 10 in Niagara Falls, New York, you can be certain that a pair of Niagara Falls tourist attractions were looking across the Niagara River with envy.
Both Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls have been closed since March 2020. While eligible to open last summer during that brief window when social protocols around COVID-19 relaxed, the numbers didn’t work for either.
However, this time around, Ontario casinos will be able to reopen when Ontario hits Stage Three, possibly as early as July 23.
Niagara Region residents who like to scoot down to the Falls to gamble have been stuck playing online and those who simply enjoy the ambience of a casino have been sitting at home, staring at the TV in their living rooms.
But the big question is: Will they open?
In July 2020 when Ontario’s ‘Framework for Reopening our Province’ Stage Three began, it did allow casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments to reopen, but with a gathering limit of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, not including staff.
In the end, neither casino bothered to reopen based on those numbers.
While this year’s Stage Two allows 25 per cent indoor capacity, a significantly higher amount of people, it hasn’t been made clear how much that percentage will jump, if at all, in Stage Three.
Neither Fallsview Casino nor Casino Niagara have made a single reference to reopening on any of their social media platforms, even though they will be eligible in as little as 16 days.
After being closed for 16 months straight, clearly there would be issues with reopening, number one being staffing. It would take both casinos some time to restaff their facilities.
It would take even longer for Fallsview, owned by Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, to restaff as it has an attached hotel. Casino Niagara, formerly owned by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation but now also owned by Mohegan, is a stand-alone property – just the casino – so it would be considerably easier to restaff.
Even the gambling mecca of the universe, Las Vegas, is struggling with staffing issues right now despite the fact that Nevada is wide-open to business and welcoming tourists again. Slightly more than half the city’s restaurants remain closed because owners simply cannot find staff.
With both Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino staying mum on reopening, it would seem more likely that they will start slowly rebuilding their staff during Stage Three and just wait until Stage Four when the province opens back up completely.
(Photo of Fallsview Resort and Casino courtesy of INFO-Niagara)insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies