Canadian poker room operator secures $200 million loan
By Bob Garcia
As poker rooms and casinos across Ontario, Canada begin re-opening their doors, one operator has chosen to keep its doors shut. Gateway Casinos and Entertainment has opted not to reopen its flagship Ontario property, Casino Rama.
But the decision doesn’t leave employees out in the cold. The operator, which also runs a number of poker rooms across Canada, is the first Canadian employer to take advantage of the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corp. (CEEFC) under its Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), giving the operator access to $200 million of liquidity.
“These funds will provide us with capital to support restarting our operations and returning people back to work when it is safe and viable to do so,” Gateway CEO Tony Santo said in an email to employees.
He went on to say, “Back in the spring, we believed that this shutdown would be for a few weeks. However, we have now seen that the closure has lasted far longer and there is continued uncertainty about how long the shutdowns will stretch.”
Corey Dalton, president of Unifor Local 1090, which represents employees at a handful of Gateway Casinos properties in Ontario, including Casino Rama and Gateway Casino in Innisfil, has been concerned about union members. But the injection of $200 million will provide Gateway with the flexibility to take care of their employees.
“After being off of work for more than six months, all of our casino members are struggling financially at this point,” said Dalton told Orillia Matters, noting that the union and Gateway recently agreed to extended health benefits for unionized employees until the end of September. “We are extremely grateful and applaud Gateway for this decision.”