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Canadian Casino Operator closes Casinos amid COVID-19 pandemic


VANCOUVER -- A casino operator with 10 gaming facilities in British Columbia suspended.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation says it is closing its facilities "in conjunction with BCLC" because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"While there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported at Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, this measure has been deemed to be in the best interests of the public's health and the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19," the company said in a statement on its website Sunday evening.

GCGC operates facilities in B.C., Ontario and Atlantic Canada. In B.C., it is the operator of several locations in the Lower Mainland, including Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver and River Rock Casino in Richmond. It also operates three facilities on Vancouver Island: Elements Casino Victoria, Casino Nanaimo and Bingo Esquimalt.

A statement on BCLC's website does not indicate an intention to close any other casinos in the province, saying only: "This is an evolving situation that together with our casino operators we continue to monitor closely."

The fate of all other casinos in B.C. is still an open question. BCLC would not say definitively if it was ordering casinos across the province to close. BCLC issued a statement earlier Sunday saying it was “actively monitoring” the “evolving situation” of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the meantime, BCLC said it had made operational changes along with casino operators to promote social distancing, following public health guidelines. Those measures include increasing space between slot machines and seats at table games. Additional hand sanitizing stations and cleaning measures have also been introduced, BCLC said. Signage has also been put up to inform players and staff of the new measures.

“We continue to permit players who wish to wear flu masks in B.C. casinos to do so, providing that all security identification protocols are followed,” the statement reads. One Vancouver casino, the Parq, confirmed it had announced to customers that it was ceasing casino promotions in an effort to encourage social distancing.

B.C. health officials have urged public and private entities to limit social gatherings to 250 people, leading to several questions on whether casinos would close. BCLC has answered many of those questions on social media with a rundown of the measures it is taking.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is temporarily shutting down all of its casinos as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus. “The health and safety of casino customers and employees is a priority for OLG and its service providers,” a statement read Sunday. All casinos were expected to shut down by Monday.

The OLG says it will provide an update on when the casinos will reopen, taking into account guidance from public health authorities.

Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara also released a statement announcing the temporary closure of their casino and resort operations as a precautionary measure. “The health and wellness of our guests and associates is our top priority” said Niagara Casinos president Richard Taylor.

The news comes after Ontario confirmed 39 more cases of coronavirus, bringing the province’s total to 142. OLG made contributions of $992.8 million for the employment of 17,600 people at OLG, including the resort casinos it owns. videos