By Medicine Hat News on June 17, 2020.
Casinos and bingo halls are allowed to reopen throughout the province as of last week, but it will take longer for charity groups that earn a portion of proceeds by volunteering to take part.
The Copper Coulee Casino is slated to reopen this morning, but without table games – where groups earn a take – and about one-third of its electronic or slot stations open, the ownership group told the News this week.
Top Hat Bingo, which is owned by a society formed by 43 local non-profit and charity groups, has scheduled the first days of July to reopen its doors, according to general manager Leslie Martin. That structure means the groups share the house portion of revenue when in operation.
“It’s going to take some time to get our employees and our charities lined up again,” said Martin.
Casino owner Albert Stark said he would like to see tables open up as soon as possible to get charities back in the mix, but the restrictions are in place under guidance from the Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Commission.
“It’s great news that things are starting to get rolling again, and table games will come along,” said Stark. “It’s a staggered start but we’ll be bringing back about a third (of our employees) at first.”
The ability to open was granted on June 12, but Stark said its taken time to comply with measures for physical distancing, bring back staff, and set up hygiene and new operating protocols.
For the time being, volunteers who work casinos in order for their charitable group to earn a portion of the proceeds will not be allowed to work events. It’s not immediately clear when that system would be allowed to restart, said Stark.
Casinos and bingo halls that were included in the most recent stage of re-openings announced by the province last week. Theatres as well were included in the now current Stage 2, whereas they were originally expected in future phase.
The City Centre Development agency has said it’s developing plans to re-open the Monarch Theatre, but hasn’t given a timeline.
This week Cineplex announced that it hoped to reopen six yet-to-be-determined locations by June 26 and most others nationwide, where allowed, by early July.