Ni­a­gara’s orig­i­nal casino ‘here to stay’

$7-mil­lion project trans­form­ing sec­ond level into des­ti­na­tion for sports fans, en­ter­tain­ment seek­ers

The Welland Tribune - - NEWS - RAY SPITERI rspi­teri@post­

A $7-mil­lion upgrade to Casino Ni­a­gara ex­pected to be com­pleted by mid-Novem­ber is an­other ex­am­ple the fa­cil­ity — which orig­i­nally was meant to be tem­po­rary — is “here to stay,” says Ni­a­gara Casi­nos pres­i­dent Richard Tay­lor.

“The prop­erty was start­ing to get a lit­tle bit tired, and it was in need of a re­build, and that was sort of the im­pe­tus be­hind all of this, was the need to recre­ate what this prop­erty is, and to give the cus­tomers more of what it is that they’re look­ing for,” said Tay­lor.

“But it’s not just this cur­rent project. With our part­ner­ship with (On­tario Lot­tery and Gam­ing Corp.), there’s been a $20-mil­lion in­vest­ment in this prop­erty over the last cou­ple of years, on the level up­stairs, and a num­ber of the other pieces of in­fra­struc­ture here. So we’re ap­proach­ing a $30-mil­lion in­vest­ment at this prop­erty within the last cou­ple of years. It’s a sig­nif­i­cant part of our busi­ness, and it’s here to stay.”

Casino Ni­a­gara opened on Falls Av­enue in 1996 and was ini­tially in­tended to be a tem­po­rary casino un­til a per­ma­nent fa­cil­ity was built.

Fallsview Casino opened in 2004 on Fallsview Boule­vard in what is now con­sid­ered the heart of the city’s tourism district.

“We don’t con­sider (Casino Ni­a­gara) to be our sec­ondary casino. This is as premier as Fallsview, and the in­vest­ment that’s tak­ing place here is re­flec­tive of that, so it’s an ex­tremely im­por­tant part of the prod­uct of­fer­ing that we have,” said Tay­lor.

“We have 4,200 em­ploy­ees that work between the two prop­er­ties, and we have a lot of staff that go back and forth. Quite hon­estly, we don’t view this as a sep­a­rate prop­erty, we just view this as a part of our busi­ness that hap­pens to be sep­a­rated by a kilo­me­tre of space.”

Tay­lor took me­dia on a tour of the 2,278-square-me­tre, sec­ond-floor construction project at Casino Ni­a­gara that is in­tended to im­prove the gam­ing and en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ence for all vis­i­tors. The project is trans­form­ing the sec­ond level into a des­ti­na­tion for sports fans and en­ter­tain­ment seek­ers.

It in­cludes $3.5 mil­lion on in­fra­struc­ture and re­design for a fresh en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ence (new car­pet­ing, floors, walls, sev­eral HDTVs with the largest be­ing 123 inches, a bar and res­tau­rant), and an ad­di­tional $3.5 mil­lion on tech­nol­ogy to of­fer guests the next gen­er­a­tion of gam­ing. Construction be­gan in June.

Tay­lor said a 275-seat din­ing area will have a “very con­tem­po­rary” sports theme, will fo­cus on lo­cal food and bev­er­ages, fea­ture a stage for live en­ter­tain­ment, and will be fully in­te­grated with the new gam­ing prod­uct on the floor.

“We have a sports book (as per OLG stan­dards), we have a poker room — we’ve moved a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of our poker op­er­a­tion here be­cause we think that prod­uct of­fer­ing is go­ing to com­ple­ment the space that we’re try­ing to cre­ate here, and one is go­ing to feed off of the other.”

He said the state-of-the-art poker room is go­ing to in­clude more than 20 ta­bles.

“We’re go­ing to have a lot of dif­fer­ent prod­uct — some tra­di­tional slot ma­chines, but we’re also go­ing to have some non-tra­di­tional slot ma­chines, the skilled-based gam­ing, ac­cess to the in­ter­net in the res­tau­rant, there’s go­ing to be Xboxes and things like that for peo­ple to en­joy.”

Casino Ni­a­gara has more than 1,300 slots, and 40 ta­ble games.

Fallsview Casino has more than 3,000 slots, and more than 130 ta­ble games.

The two casi­nos wel­come more than nine mil­lion vis­i­tors an­nu­ally.

With more than 4,000 em­ploy­ees, Ni­a­gara Casi­nos is the No. 1 em­ployer in the re­gion.

“We view our em­ploy­ees to be the key el­e­ment of our suc­cess,” said Tay­lor. “It’s what we de­liver our ex­pe­ri­ence through. We strive for ex­cel­lence on our prod­uct of­fer­ing and on our prop­erty — but it’s re­ally the peo­ple that make the dif­fer­ence for us.”

He said Ni­a­gara Casi­nos is “ex­cited” to be part of the grow­ing tourism in­dus­try, which in re­cent years has added new at­trac­tions, a con­ven­tion cen­tre and, by 2019, a new 5,000-seat en­ter­tain­ment cen­tre.

“Busi­ness has been ex­tremely good, and I think the prod­uct we of­fer is what the cus­tomer is look­ing for. But it’s not just us, we’re just part of the suc­cess. It’s the whole, en­tire busi­ness com­mu­nity here that re­ally needs to take credit for all the re­cent suc­cesses that have taken place. We’re just proud to be part of it, along with the com­mu­nity, and our busi­ness part­ners down here.”


Richard Tay­lor, pres­i­dent of Ni­a­gara Casi­nos, on Thurs­day took Post­media on a tour of the $7-mil­lion upgrade to Casino Ni­a­gara in Ni­a­gara Falls.

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