If you were betting on Sault Ste. Marie seeing a new build and a permanent casino with Gateway Casinos taking over, think again. The Sault’s temporary casino that opened in 1999 is the permanent casino for the Sault.
Gateway announced it plans on spending $220 million to renovate six of its sites in Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie is not on the list.
Sudbury is however. Gateway plans on a $55.5 million casino project build in the Nickel City with an extra 21,600 square feet of gaming space in total with new space for food and beverage options and adding an additional 200 slot machines and twenty-one gaming tables.
Gateway Casinos signed a 20-year operating and service agreement with Ontario Lottery and Gaming in May 2017 for the Northern Ontario gaming bundle. The bundle included casino properties in Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. The Sault was one of the first charity casino’s opened in the Province in May 1999 at its current Bay Street location.
At the time, it was believed to be a temporary building, while plans for a major tourist attraction was also being sought after for the property known as the “Gateway Site”
The current structure was to be handed over to the city at some point for use by possible sporting leagues.
Gateway’s purchase of the OLG Northern Bundle includes approvals for such locations as Kenora and North Bay. The B.C. Base company paid just over $79 million to operate the Northern Ontario casinos. Currently Gateway operates 26 gaming properties in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
The Sault Ste. Marie property consists of 61,800 square feet of space that includes a restaurant and bar along with over 400 slot machines and 11 gaming tables. The building sits on a valuable waterfront location of almost 14 acres.
The local casino employs 120 workers and contributes quarterly payments to the city for hosting the gaming facility. Most of those proceeds were earmarked for the city’s financial portion of the Sault Area Hospital built in 2011. The casino has raised well over $29 million in non-tax gaming revenue for the city since it opened in 1999.