Great Canadian Casinos, an entertainment operator with facilities in British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Washington State, will add slot machines to Vancouver's Hastings Park Race Course. Hastings is the fifth Thoroughbred or Standardbred race course to obtain slots from Great Canadian Casinos.
With an interim agreement with British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Great Canadian Casinos said it would go ahead with plans for slots, despite urging from groups trying to keep the machines out of the facility at a January hearing in the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
Howard Blank, Great Canadian Gaming's vice president of media and entertainment, said the company will ultimately put 600 slot machines at Hastings as part of a larger business plan after it obtains a casino permit from the BCLC and the City of Vancouver.
The initial phase of redevelopment at Hastings, which will utilize existing floor space, will see the installation of approximately 150 slot machines by the end of the year. The second phase, which will increase the total number of slots to 600, will also add new food, beverage, and entertainment amenities.
Great Canadian Gaming anticipates the second phase to be completed by late 2008 or early 2009, with an estimated $40 million in capital improvements during the initial five-year term of the proposed operating agreement with the City of Vancouver. A 15-year renewal term of the proposed operating agreement would provide for the construction of additional parking and backstretch facilities.
“The history and tradition of the horse racing industry is important to Great Canadian," said Ross McLeod, chairman and CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, in a release. "The contribution from slot machine revenues to the racing purse pool is a vital step towards rejuvenating the horse racing industry for all stakeholders through higher purse pools and stronger breeders programs. The redevelopment of Hastings Race Course will modernize the facility and further improve the entertainment value for all visitors to Hastings.”
Great Canadian Gaming also plans to upgrade the gaming operations at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino in Surrey, British Columbia.
The improvements to the gaming operations at the Standardbred track, which currently has 449 slots machines, will include the addition of 90 slots and 12 live table games. The Company expects to invest approximately $8 million in capital improvements in connection with these upgrades.
In mid-November, Great Canadian will close its casino on West Broadway in Vancouver, which first opened in 1986.