The horses and gambling are coming to Leduc County in 2018. Leduc County is slated to become the home of a “A” grade horse racing track, together with a casino, in the next couple of year.
Century Casino is behind the project. Century Casino already runs a number of horse tracks and casinos in North America. These include Century Downs in Calgary. The company was selected recently by Horse Racing Alberta as being the winning applicant to construct the track and casino complex for the Edmonton market.
The horse racing track and casino is to be constructed on land currently owned by the Edmonton International Airport. It is located west of Red Tail Landing golf course. The site is also located near an upcoming outlet mall, which should be in operation by the time the track and casino complex is up and running.
At the present time, plans call for the complex to be named “Century Mile.” Construction is scheduled to commence in 2017. The projected grand opening date is the fall of 2018.
Century Casinos was picked by Horse Racing Alberta from seven other applicants. The project is designed to replace the Northlands track, which is scheduled to close shortly.
According to Paul Ryneveld, Century Casinos spokesperson and the designated racing manager at the Century Downs facility, the Century Casinos’ proposal was graded highest based on the criteria used by Horse Racing Alberta. The criteria included a consideration of the proposed physical plant and the financial aspects of the proposal by that company. In addition, the timing of the construction and opening of the complex were also considered during the application process. Ryneveld noted that there exit high hopes that the new facility will serve an underserved market.
Plans for the new facility include a mile-long horse racing track. When completed, this will be the only such horse-racing track in all of Western Canada. The complex will also feature a full-service casino.
The plans for the horse track and casino complex is part of an overall concerted effort to develop airport and adjacent property under the “Aerotropolis” concept. This is a concept that is being promoted by the airport as well as the city and county of Leduc.
With a considerable number of people out of work in Leduc and Edmonton, coupled with the overall state of the so-called down economy some question whether people will be interested in horse racing and gambling. Century Casinos is betting on the answer being a solid and consistent yes. The complex will give people a chance to spend their entertainment money closer to home. Moreover, the new facility will bring jobs.
The team behind Century Casinos maintain that residents of the area will also patronize the new complex as opposed to planning trips to other destinations. When people need to watch their bottom lines, they tend to focus on finding reasonably priced activities closer to were they live.
No specific date has been set for the closing of the Northlands horse racing track. Ryneveld, with Century Casinos, voiced his hope that horse racing will continue at Northlands through 2017. This will work to bridge the gap for Horse Racing Alberta, a not-for-profit organization created by the province to promote these types of facilities.
Ryneveld indicated that support from people in the area of the proposed complex has been strong and highly positive. They see the proposal as a movement in the right direction and another step towards improving the economic outlook for the area. He noted that there has been little opposition to the proposed project, and many major stakeholders are enthusiastic about what the future has in store.