Toronto inches closer to live poker with upcoming Casino Rama opening
By Bob Garcia
Poker players near Toronto can’t ante up live just yet, but with another casino gearing up to open its doors once again, the prospect of live tournament action is becoming more hopeful.
Casino Rama confirmed that they’re planning to reopen soon. While table games like 3 Card Poker won’t be part of the immediate mix, slots will be open to players on an invite-only basis.
“We have been working with Gateway Casino officials and Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) for several months to explore options for the safe opening of Casino Rama,” said Rama First Nation Chief Ted William.
Casino Rama closed its doors in mid-March when the government of Ontario ordered all casinos to close. While several casinos have reopened their doors, the gaming facility near Toronto has remained closed. Reopening the expansive casino while adhering to a 50-person limit didn’t make much sense.
According to Williams, all parties have reached an agreement on reopening. That includes a consultation with the Rama COVID-19 Task Force.
Helping to finalize a decision was a visit by Williams and members of the First Nations council to Georgian Downs, another Gateway-operated casino. That property had been open on a limited basis with COVID-19 protocols in place for several weeks. What’s more, no COVID-19 cases in the region can be tied back to Georgian Downs.
But there are still a number of steps that Rama must go through before opening their doors once again.
“When those details are established, including a confirmed opening date, a formal re-opening announcement will be issued by Gateway,” noted Robert Mitchell, a spokesperson for Gateway. “We are happy that they have reviewed Gateway’s health and safety protocols for re-opening under the current government criteria and given their endorsement for Gateway to re-open Rama under those restrictions, which include a customer capacity of 50 patrons, no live table games and the mandatory use of face masks.”