Visitors to the Great Canadian Casino have been less than pleased with their experience since the establishment opened its doors on June 20, 2023. The highly anticipated land-based casino resort, boasting a brand new and modern casino with multiple restaurants was promised to "revolutionize Toronto's entertainment landscape", but initial customer feedback has indicated this might not be the case.
The casino cost around $1 billion to build and will employ approximately 2,000 people - making it the largest casino in all of Canada. It has 328,000 square feet of gaming space that includes 4,800 slot machines, 145 live tables, 400 hotel rooms, and an entertainment venue with a 5,000-person capacity.
However, visitors to the new casino are leaving less than satisfied, citing the establishment to still be under construction, poor layout and lack of modern decor, and a lack of access via public transport as downfalls so far.
Jeff, who visited in July, commented: "Site was still mostly under construction. It seems cash flow trumped waiting until the facility was ready?"
"Casino presented like a converted warehouse with leftover equipment from failed sites. The decor was minimalist and very underwhelming."
"I made my way over to bet on the horses, only none of the staff seemed to know how to navigate there. After walking for 20 minutes through buildings I asked an employee if I was close to the track. She told me I needed to go all the way back to the casino entrance."
The casino is situated adjacent to the Woodbine Racetrack, a thoroughbred horse racing track that hosts live racing most weeks from Thursday to Sunday.
Others were quick to compare Great Canadian Casino to those in Las Vegas, with the consensus that it is quite far from replicating the iconic feeling you get at popular Vegas casinos.
No Atmosphere. Not even close to a Vegas casino. Both Niagara casinos put this place to shame. All the media hoopla for what. Won’t visit ever again - Carmen
Greg added: "Really? This is a billion-dollar Vegas-style casino? Where is the Vegas style? My feelings were right, knowing Great Canadian built Pickering my expectations were not high for this casino and I was right.
"No atmosphere. It's boring and certainly does not have a wow factor."
Another common theme was the table limits that seem to be deployed at the casino, with customers querying the minimum bets on some table games. Michael Sauro encouraged the casino to do more research, commenting, "Please do some research into your data analytics on live table minimums. They don’t always have to be $50-$100. Driving people away." Likewise, a separate patron added, "100 minimum tables and then they have the nerve to make you line up in a 2-hour line-up to cash in your chips, if you manage to have any to cash in! Only two cashiers working for the entire casino on a Saturday night."
The resort is expected to contribute an estimated $500 million in economic benefit for Ontario, with the City of Toronto receiving more than $357 million in gaming revenue from its predecessor, Casino Woodbine. This comes in addition from the revenue generated from Ontario online casinos which are also expected to significantly boost the coffers.
"We are thrilled to finally unveil Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto to the world," said Matthew Anfinson, Chief Executive Officer, Great Canadian Entertainment prior to the casino opening. "Our team has worked tirelessly for several years to create an unrivaled entertainment experience that will leave a lasting impression on our guests. The opening of this first phase of Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto is incredibly exciting for all of us, and we are very eager to reveal the next phases, including the hotel and The Theatre, in the coming weeks and months."