Customer reaction mixed after Niagara Falls casinos reopen


Published July 27, 2021 at 5:52 pm


While its opening was highly anticipated throughout its 16-month closures, visitors to Casino Niagara over the past few days had mixed reactions.

With the 50 per cent capacity limits under Ontario’s Step Three of reopening, it seems like the landscape has shifted somewhat in that there’s far less people at the moment.

Avid Las Vegas visitor and Niagara Falls resident Adam Craig, known as @hidden_jackpots on Twitter, went to Casino Niagara’s grand reopening on Friday night and saw both pluses and minuses.

For starters, he noted the parking was brutal.

“I’m not happy about the parking,” he told us. “You need to get to Level 2 of the (new Mohegan Sun’s player’s card) rewards program now for free parking.”

That rewards card was another opening weekend fly in the ointment. All existing players’ cards prior to the pandemic were now null and void in favour of the two casinos’ new Momentum Card. However, existing points on the old cards were transferable unless they had expired.

However, once inside, Craig said things picked up a little. While there were only a handful of new slot machines – he suggested maybe 15 or so – the casino had redone its layout and he quite liked the new look.

“It’s so nice to be back,” he said, “I’m not a huge gambler but I do like going (mostly for the) lights, sight and people watching.”

He acknowledged that perhaps Ontario casinos still had their hands tied to a certain degree. “Seeing how Vegas (has completely) reopened, I feel (our casinos) could have done more but being owned by the government, they probably had limitations.”

All casinos in the province are technically owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation though all are operated by different gaming consortium. In the case of both Niagara Falls establishments, the Connecticut-based Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment run the casinos.

While Casino Niagara’s present hours are 10 am to 2 am, a kilometre-and-a-half away, Fallsview has reopened as a 24/7 operation.

But when Las Vegas enthusiasts and London couple, Mark and Liz Anderson, returned yesterday (July 26), it was straight to Casino Niagara for them, as well.

Again, it was a bit of a mixed bag for the couple.

For his part, Mark already knows the drawbacks in the Vegas casinos vs Ontario casinos scenario. As @pennys4vegas on Twitter, Mark has made a career of finding the best deals in Las Vegas and has long been sharing them with his Twitter and YouTube followers.

In Ontario, there are no real deals until you start building up huge Momentum Card points. But for a man affectionately dubbed by his followers as “The Duke of Discount” or “The Guru of Group-On,” paying full shot in Ontario casinos does rankle him a little.

Still he did manage a trip to Las Vegas last October when Nevada was also operating under the 50 per cent capacity rules, so his situation here was similar.

However, “the Casino is hot so with everyone wearing masks, they need to crank up the air-conditioning.”

As well, he noted, the ticket redemption machines (where casino-goers cash in their winning tickets from the slots) “were all turned off. And there was only one ATM working. You should have seen the lineup for that.”

While he’s used to buying Budweiser beer for $1 or $2 in Vegas, he noted it was $7 at the casino bar. Also as an aficionado of Bloody Caesars (vodka and Mott’s Clamato), he was quite willing to pay for that, also at $7.

However, he laughed, he fell into a small problem. After the bartender poured him his first, he ran out of clamato juice.

But he added the casino was following all the COVID-19 protocols. “They were hard-core into contact-tracing everyone who came in,” noting all needed their new Momentum Card.

Liz, for her part, found herself enjoying the social distancing. “I liked that it was nicely spaced out and they were wandering around cleaning.”

But like her hubby, “I wish there were more ATMs available and maybe the(ticket redemption) machines open.”

(Photo of Mark and Liz Anderson on Clifton Hill near Casino Niagara courtesy of Twitter)

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