The coronavirus and its effects on economic systems know no political borders or boundaries. The situation in Ontario, specifically regarding the Caesars Windsor Casino, is a familiar one for anyone following the news.
The casino is going on five months of a shutdown, with no definite end in sight. All of Windsor may feel the impact of lost dollars by the millions.
Latest estimates of the Caesars Windsor shutdown costs
In normal years, the city of Windsor receives dividends from the Ontario Lottery and for hosting Caesars within its limits. This year, the city estimates it will receive over 6 million CAD (about $4.41 million US dollars) less than it originally projected because of the casino shuttering.
The money that the city’s coffers won’t receive from the province for gaming revenues is just one example of the economic impact of the shutdown, however. Another ramification is the lost wages of thousands of former casino workers.
Other Windsor agencies have pooled resources to help laid-off casino employees with staples like food and hygiene products. Additionally, Canada’s government has been more aggressive in its public relief, paying many citizens as much as 2,000 CAD per month during government-mandated stay-at-home periods.
Those measures will certainly offset some of the economic struggles in Windsor. Another casino-related economic loss comes in terms of reduced tourism to the city, however.
City officials also expect to lose nearly 5 million CAD in transport revenues, another 1.5 million CAD in parking revenues, and around 1 million CAD from reduced use of the airport and tunnel. While casino patrons aren’t the only people normally producing that revenue, they do represent a portion.
Thus far, city officials seem hesitant to raise property taxes to make up for shortfalls. Given the number of casino employees in the area, that might prove wise. The old moniker of “trying to squeeze blood from a turnip” might apply.
Perhaps making the situation feel direr is that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel right now. Currently, there’s no official timeline for reopening the casino.
Stage three may or may not include casino gaming
The only thing that seems certain about the status of the casino is that it won’t reopen until Ontario moves into the next phase of its reopening plan. The province is currently in the second stage.
Guidance from the provincial government about the inclusions and specifications of the third stage has been vague so far. No announced policy has explicitly mentioned casinos.
It’s possible to infer that some of the details on restrictions for indoor gatherings and restaurants may apply to casinos, however. Those include:
- Contract tracing mandates
- Distancing requirements
- Lower capacities
- New sanitation protocols
If Ontario does move into stage three soon and allows Caesars to reopen with restrictions, that doesn’t necessarily mean a green light for Michiganders to visit the casino again. Canada is still enforcing a strict 14-day quarantine for visitors from the United States.
Like Detroit, Windsor will feel the effects of the closure of its commercial casino this year. The seriousness of those effects depends on how much longer the shutdown endures.