Gateway Reveals London and North Bay Plans

This year, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment celebrates its 27th year in business. As 2019 began, the company had 27 properties, matching its number of years of operations.

However, more casinos are in the works. While they are not likely to be completed and/or opened by the end of 2019, the number of Gateway properties continues to rise.

Starlight Casino

Starlight in South London, Ontario

Gateway just announced its new British casino complex this month. The company revealed plans for a casino complex called Starlight Casino in London, which will be located on Wonderland Road, if all permits and approvals allow it.

Starlight Casino will cost approximately $75 million to build and create 700 new jobs. The property will comprise 9,290 square meters of space, and the casino will boast of 900 slot machines and 40 table games. There will be several restaurants, including Match Eatery and Public House.

The project will be its largest investment in Ontario thus far.

London Chamber of Commerce representative Gerry Macartney told the London Free Press that the jobs will be a welcome offering in the community. And he supports the location in the southern part of London. “Where the 401 and 402 meet, that is at the apex of the busiest trade corridor on the planet. It’s strategically important for them and for us.”

The city council will vote on the plans this summer, and if the members approve the project for that particular location and authorizes the re-zoning certificates, construction may start as early as September.

Gateway Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Carrie Kormos said, “We really envision London being the hub of the entertainment experience in Southwestern Ontario.”

Replacing Western Fair

Currently, the Raceway at Western Fair is the casino in the area, but it is operated by Gateway. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) put Gateway in charge of the slot operations at the Western Fair location in 2017.

Gateway’s hope was to buy the land at Western Fairgrounds and build a 125-room hotel there to go with a revamped casino complex. The entire project was to cost $140 million. However, negotiations with the city council for more than a year failed to deliver any agreements, so that plan was dropped.

The new Starlight Casino will take the place of that project. Upon its completion, the staff in the casino portion of the Raceway will be transferred to Starlight.

Cascades in North Bay, Ontario

Meanwhile, in North Bay, Gateway is working on its Cascades Casino project that will be located on Pinewood Park Drive. The project will require an investment of approximately $31 million and create as many as 300 new jobs.

The casino will take up 39,000 square feet of space and offer 300 slot machines alongside eight table games. As with other Gateway properties, it will also include a Match Eatery and Public House, among other restaurants and bars.

The company broke ground on the location on May 31, and the ceremony included numerous executives and government officials from Ontario and OLG. As a part of Gateway’s first foray into northern Ontario, the project is being celebrated.

Ontario Minister of Finance and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said, “This is one of the most significant economic development projects in the city in recent years and will contribute to economic activity in several ways.”

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald added, “We welcome Gateway to the community. Their casino development will bring new jobs to the area and significant economic spinoffs.”

The hope is to be able to open Cascades Casino in July 2020, though there have been some setbacks already. As the construction process began, residents became concerned about soil dumping in a field that drains into a ditch and into Lake Nipissing. There were also complaints that a turtle habitat was in danger due to that dumping.

An Ontario land surveyor did step in, and the North Bay Conservation Authority began an investigation. Gateway contends that permits are in place and being adhered to, and the soil is being dumped per all regulations.

Depending upon the length of the investigation and environmental charges, the project may experience some delays at this early stage of the process. While Gateway has yet to change its anticipated completion date, it may have to be altered if the company is unable to work out the dumping problems through some changes agreed upon by all parties.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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