Canada’s entertainment industry is losing millions due to the coronavirus pandemic


The coronavirus pandemic has hit multiple sectors all over the world, with many businesses being forced to close due to a complete collapse in revenue and customers. Almost every business that needs people to step outside there homes have been adversely affected, and the entertainment industry is perhaps the worst-hit of all of these. Canada is no different, and its entertainment and gambling sectors are facing the brunt of this crisis, with construction on new projects having to be stalled and casinos and other venues losing millions as there is no end in sight to the lockdown measures.

For example, in the province on British Columbia, where casinos, betting parlors and community bingo halls have all been closed since 15th March, there are going to be millions of dollars in grants and funding which are lost due to the drop in revenue. Even though some operators have tried to offer some services online, with real money online casinos becoming popular during this time, that has not been anywhere near enough to bridge the gap in revenue for most providers. According to the provincial health officer for British Columbia, Dr. Bonnie Henry, casinos will be the last priority in terms of businesses which will be opened up, since they are closed environments, and also the majority of the clientele are older people who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Thus, it may be a long time before casinos can open in the province, or even elsewhere in Canada, and this is having an impact on the community as well.

While the businesses themselves are being affected, the province also gives out millions of dollars in gaming grants to cities and groups - last year, British Columbia gave out more than $230 million in grants, with over $130 million going to community groups and close to $100 million being distributed to local government bodies. Some of the cities and towns receive a lot of their funding from these grants - Richmond got $16 million last year, while Burnaby received $12 million. Both of these cities have huge casinos which is why they received such sizeable amounts of money, but even for smaller towns, this money can be vital. The town of Langley usually gets up to $500,000 every month from these grants, and most of this funding is put aside for community planning and development.

Another significant effect of the crisis has been to stall existing construction projects. A $75 million gaming complex, which was being built by the Gateway Casinos & Entertainment group in London, Ontario, is currently on hold, with the company not able to confirm when the project can resume. It is a huge project, expected to span over 10,000 square meters, and have hardcore gambling locations as well as gaming opportunities targeted for the whole family. It was supposed to be opened sometime in 2021, but there is expected to now be a significant delay in this timeline. Construction had just begun, so there is a long way to go before the project can be opened for business, and the current delay will only lengthen the time before this can occur.


It would need an easing of the current lockdown measures, with construction workers allowed on-site and able to work together and mingle, for the development to be restarted. However, such a scenario is unlikely in the near future, so while physical casinos remain shut across the country, Gateway Entertainment is also suffering due to the delays caused to its upcoming flagship project, thus giving it a double whammy of sorts during these unprecedented times.

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