Work at North Bay's new casino, called Cascades, resumed this week, but while COVID still dominates, there is still no way to predict an opening day.
"We are resuming construction starting today," Rob Mitchell, director of communications for Gateway Casinos, told BayToday. "We are going to complete the casino there but I can't give you a firm opening day."
An inspection is taking place first to see how the building weathered the winter.
The 37,000-square-foot-building is located on a seven-acre parcel of land bordered by Pinewood Park Drive, Highway 11 and the PetroCanada station in the city's south end. There will be more than 14,000 square feet of gaming space with 300 slots and 10 table games.
"We've poured the floor and did all the rough-ins last November, and then we put up the boarding for the winter months and closed the site. It is our intention to complete the facility as planned. The decision has been made to go forward with it and we're cautiously optimistic we are going to build it out as planned," Mitchell said.
"It's a really beautiful casino and it's been hugely successful for us. It has a great patio, a fantastic bar on the gaming floor called The Summit that stretches the entire length of the gaming floor and looks down on the table games and roulettes, and it's a really, really nice spot. I think it will be great and extremely successful. People are really going to like it."
The casino will appeal to more than gamblers, said Mitchell.
"It's the amenities, the Match Eatery and Public House, The Buffet. At the end of the day, it's going to be a really exciting destination for North Bay and people will really enjoy it."
COVID has weighed heavily on the casino business in Ontario.
"At the present time, the restriction for the entire industry is 50 people on the gaming floor," Mitchell said. If you look at some of our existing casinos, like the mid-sized casino Georgian Downs (south of Barrie), that is licensed for 3,300 people and we're only allowed 50.
"But we're cautiously optimistic looking forward."