Hiawatha Horse Park to offer slot machines again
Hiawatha Horse Park and Entertainment Center in Sarnia is about to get a gambling makeover. The horse racing track recently announced it will once again offer slot games at its location starting in 2020. About 150 slot machines will be installed at the premises in January, as part of a push to diversify the selection of gaming at the race track. The operator of the casino portion of the site will be Gateway Casinos & Entertainment. The actual casino operation will be housed at a location right next to the race track, and it will be called Gateway Casinos Sarnia, following the naming mechanism of the company’s other gambling brands.
Slot machines are back at Hiawatha Horse Park
Not long ago, Hiawatha Horse Park actually housed slot machines at its location. In fact, until 2012, the facility had almost 450 slot machines that were run as part of the Slots at Racetracks Programs by the government of Ontario. The province launched that program in response to people’s unhappiness with other proposals for casinos. Residents and communities of Ontario once used to push against full-fledged casino venues, which forced slot machines to race tracks.
In 2012, though, the government ended the Slots at Racetracks Programs, and the money that disappeared as a result was felt hard and strong at local communities such as Sarnia. That’s why the return of slot machines to the Hiawatha Horse Park is being lauded as such a great success for the region.
The official approval of the return of slot machines was given in May of this year, and work behind the scenes and on construction has been taking place ever since. The mayor of Sarnia, Mike Bradley, has said he is very happy with the way things are going and has a great outlook on how the return of slot machines will benefit the community and surrounding region.
In 2011, revenue from Gateway Casinos Sarnia topped out at CAD $1.5 million from the 450 slot machines at the race track. For the 12 years that the track hosted slot machines, the surrounding community benefited from the total of CAD $30 million in allocations. Try your hand at an online casino now, such as the one below.
Gaming could grow in the future
For now, there will only be 150 slot machines installed at Hiawatha Horse Park. However, that could change in the future, depending on the demand that occurs once the facility is open to the public on January 31.
In addition to the slot machines, Gateway Casinos Sarnia will open what has become a signature feature of its casinos — the Express bar that will serve cocktails and other beverages to players at the casino portion of the property.
While actual numbers have not yet been released in terms of how much the construction project is going to cost when it’s done, the building permits alone have come to a total of CAD $2.9 million so far. In addition to the construction jobs, there will be a need for roughly 60 employees at the slot facility, which will be a nice boost to the local job economy as well. And, as always, there is expected to be supplementary jobs that will be created by the opening of the slot machine facility at Hiawatha Horse Park. To try your hand at a casino while you wait for Gateway Casinos Sarnia to open, check out the online casino below.