Entertainment

Innisfil casino hits the jackpot with reopening

Gateway Casino Innisfil, located at Georgian Downs racetrack, opened its doors at one minute past midnight on Friday, July 16, as part of Step 3 of Ontario’s reopening, and fans of the casino were more than ready.

The following Tuesday, on a quiet weekday afternoon, the parking lot at the casino was packed with cars, and visitors were lined up at the front doors waiting to enter.

COVID precautions are still in place, as part of the reopening – including physical distancing, mandated mask-wearing on the gaming floor, and a limit on the number of visitors allowed inside at any one time, to 50 per cent of fire code capacity.

Gateway Casino Innisfil has a maximum capacity of 3,342 people, which allows up to 1,671 visitors at a time.

“The visitors have been very happy. There’s a lot of excitement,” said Robert Mitchell, director of communications and public affairs with Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, contacted shortly after the reopening of Gateway’s Casino Rama on July 29.

“People are being very complimentary about our staff, and our health and safety protocols,” he said, and are coming from “all over” to enjoy the casino experience – like the couple who came down from Kirkland Lake, and camped out overnight in the Casino Rama parking lot to be the first in line when the doors opened.

“People seem very happy,” Mitchell said. “It’s been great!”

“We were delighted to see the reopening of Gateway Casino Innisfil in our community,” said Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin. “We’ve worked closely with the operators and our partners at the province to ensure that the safest, highest quality procedures are in place so that staff can be at ease while the public can enjoy their experience.”

During the COVID closures, the Town of Innisfil, as host community, saw its share of revenues drop from over $5 million per year to under $2 million.

“We look forward to seeing Gateway Casino Innisfil thrive once again and commend them for their hard work and dedication to public health and safety,” the mayor said. “While we remain vigilant, without a doubt seeing the casino open is a positive sign for the public that we are moving in a direction where people can get excited and have fun again.”

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