Prominent casino operators Caesars Entertainment Incorporated, Bally’s Corporation and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment are reportedly all vying for the next license to run Ontario’s 30-year-old Caesars Windsor.
Opened in May of 1994 as the Canadian province’s first land-based casino, the 758-room property situated along the banks of the Detroit River has since been the responsibility of Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment Incorporated. However, this arrangement is due to expire next year with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation regulator currently engaged in determining who should be granted the future operating rights for one of the nation’s premier gaming establishments.
Alongside a twin-tower hotel, Caesars Windsor features a 100,000 sq ft casino hosting a selection of some 80 gaming tables and approximately 2,200 slots alongside a 5,000-seat theater, a sportsbook, some 110,000 sq ft of meeting and conference space and multiple restaurants and bars. The facility wholly-owned by the province of Ontario regularly attracts six million visitors a year from across Canada and the United States and has to date handed over approximately $59.5 million to its host community while providing employment for more than 2,000 locals.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is nevertheless eager to improve this state of affairs and has been slowly renegotiating all of the licenses held by the giant province’s 30-strong club of casinos. Caesars Windsor’s is the last of these contracts to be restructured with The Globe and Mail detailing the regulator is now looking to replace its earlier cash-split deal with an arrangement guaranteeing a pre-determined annual payment and future investment.
Community leaders in Windsor including the border city’s mayor and tourism executives are said to favor renewing the casino operating license held by Caesars Entertainment Incorporated. The President for the facility’s Unifor Local 444 union, Dave Cassidy, is also among this club and asserts the Nasdaq-listed company has consistently invested to build the client base with its brand having ‘the gambling expertise and the loyalty programs that keep patrons coming back’.
“Caesars Entertainment Incorporated should be the favored candidate based on the job it has done running the casino and providing quality jobs,” Cassidy said. “Windsor needs an international casino operator who can do what’s needed to win customers and stop them from playing across the river in Detroit.”
Caesars Entertainment Incorporated, which was created out of the 2020 merger of Eldorado Resorts Incorporated and Caesars Entertainment Corporation, is currently responsible for 53 gambling-friendly properties spread across the United States and Canada including the 3,960-room Caesars Palace Las Vegas. The operator owns or leases the majority of these while the seven venues it simply manages, which is a club that embraces Caesars Windsor, racked up some $83 million in earnings for the first nine months of 2023.
“It’s critically important that whoever the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation chooses to run Caesars Windsor have an established brand,” the Chief Executive Officer for Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, Gordon Orr, said.
For its part and Bally’s Corporation, which began life by buying venues and a name once owned by Caesars Entertainment Corporation, is the operator of 16 casinos including the Bally’s Chicago and Bally’s Atlantic City facilities. Despite this impressive estate, the Rhode Island-based firm could well be passed over by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation due to concerns over its lack of a substantial digital platform.
Finally, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment is hoping its existing relationship with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation will help it to secure the Caesars Windsor operating license. The company owned by Connecticut’s federally-recognized Mohegan Tribe already runs Ontario’s 95,000 sq ft Casino Niagara and even larger Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and assisted in the development of this latter venue’s 5,000-seat OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino live events center.
Alan Campbell has been reporting on the global gambling industry ever since graduating from university in the late-1990s with degrees in journalism, English and history. Now headquartered in the northern English city of Sheffield, he has written on a plethora of topics, companies, regulatory developments and technological innovations for a large number of traditional and digital publications from around the planet.Read Full Bio