Wasaga Beach Casino

The town of Wasaga Beach on Ontario’s Georgian Bay will be home to Gateway Casinos & Entertainment’s next casino venue. The initiative comes from Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s plan to update lottery and gambling operations in a bid to help communities generate a stable income and promote safe and responsible gambling.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we still don’t have a precise timeline for when gamblers in the area will be able to play slots and table games at the new casino. The initial grand opening was scheduled for the third quarter of 2021, but that seems highly unlikely now.

Wasaga Beach Casino — project background

In 2018, OLG, as the steward of gambling in Ontario, selected Gateway to establish a new gambling facility in the so-called Zone C7, home to the municipalities and townships of Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Clearview and Springwater. Gateway is one of Canada’s largest gambling companies, with 25 properties in British Columbia and Ontario and two more in Alberta.

The municipalities had to decide whether they wanted to host gambling in their area, and Wasaga Beach emerged as the destination for the casino project. The venue will occupy a 7.5-acre parcel next to the Mosley Street roundabout at Lyons Court and Beachwood Road.

Considering the casinos Gateway has already established, around 80 or 90 people from the local area will likely find employment in the new casino. Further benefits for the town of Wasaga Beach include revenue sharing expected to bring in between $1.2 million and $2.4 million per year.

The funding details are based on the municipality contribution agreement OLG signed with the town. Under the agreement and the base funding model, the town is set to receive 5.25% on the first $65 million of net slot revenue, plus 3% on the next $135 million, and another 2.5% on the next $300 million net slot revenue. For the remainder of the agreement, 0.5% of the remainder of net slot revenue will find its way to the town coffers.

Wasaga Beach casino games

The Wasaga Beach Casino is expected to follow the model of OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway, Clinton Raceway and Dresden Raceway, which feature between 100 and 150 slot machines. However, the Wasaga Casino property will offer an even bigger potential, thanks to its proposed 10,000-square-meter facility with up to 300 slot machines of multiple denominations and 10 table games featuring blackjack, roulette and casino poker.

In addition, two restaurants will also open at the property to provide patrons with both casual and fine dining.

When will the Wasaga Beach Casino open?

Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy of Ontario and the world, the construction of the casino site had to go on hold, thus postponing its opening.

What’s more, the pandemic-induced lockdowns have dealt a huge blow to the finances of all gambling companies, including Gateway Casinos and Entertainment. The company had to ask for a $200 million loan from the federal government in 2020 under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility plan. This should be enough to restart some ongoing projects, so we might see some activity related to the construction of Gateway’s Wasaga Beach Casino in 2021.