Kawartha Downs Casino, also known as Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs, is a brick-and-mortar gambling facility operating under the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. wing. In addition to Kawartha Downs, the GCGC owns 24 gambling, entertainment and hospitality venues, half of which are in Ontario. Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs belongs to a group of GCGC Shorelines brand casinos that span the province.
The gambling facility is at the Kawartha Downs Racetrack, which has been operating since 1971. The casino, however, launched in 2015, when GCGC bought the venue. The casino covers approximately 38,000 square feet and features just over 150 slot machines. Despite being smaller than other casinos in this group, the main attractions are the racetrack and speedway that host harness horse racing and motorsports events.
Kawartha Downs amenities include the Player’s Lounge and Cafe, where patrons can order various refreshments from an a la carte menu. The casino operates 24/7, and patrons must be 19 or older to enter the facility and gamble there.
Visitors to Kawartha Downs can expect to enjoy the following slots and casino games:
Although the first slot machines were available at Kawartha Downs in 1999, the casino gained recognition only after the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. took over in 2015. Today, the facility has over 150 slot machines from popular software developers — IGT, Aristocrat, Bally and Ainsworth.
At first, the casino hosted over 450 slot machines whose revenue helped supplement horse racing activities. However, the casino floor had its ups and downs over the years and was at the brink of closure in 2018 when GCGC planned to move all slot machines to the newly established Shorelines Casino Peterborough.
Fortunately, the company agreed not to move 150 slot machines, which are fully operational today. Below are some of the most popular slot machines you’ll find at the casino:
As the casino name suggests, slot machines are the only game available at Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs. Unfortunately, given the previous financial difficulties at the casino, we can’t expect the facility to broaden its game collection anytime soon.
Players looking for live casino tables can drive down to Shorelines Casino Peterborough. There, they will find 22 table game variants, including blackjack, Spanish 21, roulette, mini squeeze baccarat, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker and Mississippi stud.
Like live table games, poker tables, much less a poker room, are nonexistent at the Kawartha Downs Casino. The only gambling options are slot machines and horse race betting. However, an eight-minute drive to Shorelines Casino Peterborough will open up more possibilities for poker enthusiasts.
Before Shorelines Slots even appeared, Kawartha Downs was a place for people who enjoyed harness racing, making it a go-to destination for horse racing. The season starts in May and ends in October, with races happening every Saturday.
The site also offers a variety of live simulcast betting options. Horse racing aficionados gather for the harness racing and to place wagers on their favourites. Available wagers include win, place, show and daily double.
In addition to the racetrack, Kawartha Downs features other amenities, including the Grandstand Dining Room, concessions, Goodtimes Bar and Player’s Lounge and Cafe.
Being a part of the Shorelines brand, Kawartha Downs features the Axis Rewards Program. Upon entrance, all visitors can sign up and apply for Axis membership. The Axis program has four tiers, each one with benefits, promotions and bonuses. The casino rewards players with points for every $1 they wager on slot machines, allowing them to progress through the levels and unlock additional perks. Here are the four tiers:
Benefits include restaurant discounts, invitations to exclusive events, Axis points on free-play slots, etc. At the Privè level, members are also eligible for gifts, bonuses and VIP parking.
All GCGC casinos operate under rules promoting responsible gambling. To achieve that, Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs collaborates with PlaySmart, an organisation that helps people with gambling problems.
The venue has a PlaySmart Centre that offers advice and help to players in need. What’s more, the organisation has an extensive educational and promotional program that gives visitors information about responsible gambling and addiction.
If necessary, PlaySmart can help patrons activate the self-exclusion program or direct them to other organisations and institutions where they can receive assistance:
Kawartha Downs racetrack began operations in 1971. Even though it was previously a potential site for a minimum-security prison, the location eventually went to the Peterborough Racing Association.
Over the years, Kawartha Downs racetrack went through many ups and downs but survived them all. In 1999, the racetrack introduced slot machines and changed its name to OLG Slots at Kawartha Downs. The racetrack used the revenue to fund all horse racing activities, which turned out to be the right move, as it saved the dying industry.
In 2015, OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming) struck a deal with the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. As a result, the company established the Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs, as the casino is known today.
At first, patrons had access to over 450 top-tier slot machines. However, in 2018, the GCGC built another casino at Peterborough and moved all the slots from the previous site. After protests from the Kawartha Downs employees, the GCGC reached an agreement with the Ontario government and left 150 slot machines at the casino. That way, Kawartha Downs avoided permanent closure, and 60 employees managed to hold onto their jobs.