Fallsview Casino Resort, Casino Niagara, Gateway Casinos in Woodstock and London, as well as Caesars Windsor are just some of the 28 OLG gaming venues that will be shuttered until at least Jan. 26 as a measure to stem the surging Omicron variant.
OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti says the closures apply to all in-person gaming-related outlets including those with slots, gaming tables, and electronic games.
“What’s good news for us is we have 10,000 lottery retailers across Ontario that are still able to keep their businesses open,” Bitonti told Global News.
“Folks can still buy their favourite lottery tickets, and we’re very happy for that.”
The OLG Prize Centre in Toronto will remain operational to pay out lottery prizes, but on a by-appointment basis only.
Winners with prize claims between $1,000 and $49,999 are encouraged to submit their claims online or mail them in.
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Bitonti says for those that just want a casino experience, olg.ca offers a number of virtual table-style games.
“You can even actually interact with a live table dealer as well,” said Bitonti.
“That’s a new feature that we launched earlier this year.”
Prior to the pandemic, an estimated 19,000 people combined were employed in Ontario’s casinos.
The Niagara venues called back about 1,000 of 4,000 staff upon Public Health Ontario’s green light in July to begin a slow reopening after year-long closure.
Under the Ford government’s third step in the 2021 reopening plan, casinos could once again take on customers at 50 per cent capacity.
Late last year, Niagara Falls mayor Jim Diodati told Global News the closures and slow emergence of the gaming venues cost the city almost $20 million in revenue.
Diodati said the number didn’t include the economic impact the 2020 closures had on the surrounding area.