Edmonton edged closer to Tony Santo’s goal of making the city the “new Las Vegas” with the opening of the luxurious Grand Villa Casino. The CEO of Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited proudly discussed the multi-million dollar facility during a recent radio interview. He expects the new four-level casino to reinvigorate the downtown area.
A Spectacular Casino
Tourists visiting Edmonton will certainly want to see the Grand Villa Casino. It recently attracted long lines during opening night. Costing an estimated $32 million, the establishment furnishes some 60,000 square feet of entertainment space. Guests enjoy access to seven dining areas and 600 slot machines and 28 gaming tables.
The Grand Villa officially commenced business on September 7, 2016. It physically connects to the eastern wing of a popular new ice arena, providing a convenient dining and recreation venue for hockey patrons.
Fine Dining Opportunities
The Grand Villa Casino furnishes several dining locations. A formal restaurant, Atlas Steak and Fish, offers dinners prepared by an award-winning chef, Shelley Robinson, the victor of the first Chopped Canada contest. The 53-year old has co-authored four cookbooks and overseen restaurants in Vancouver. In addition to managing the 150-seat restaurant in the new casino, she supervises Match Eatery and Public House, a less formal dining milieu.
Specialties of Chef Robinson include Spaghetti Carbonara and dishes prepared with a closed Josper oven (combining roasting and grilling). Guests at the Grand Villa Casino also enjoy access to a food court area and several small bars. They will possess a full range of fine dining options, ranging from obtaining casual cocktails to ordering full multi-course formal meals.
Bolstering The Local Economy
Although it remains too early to assess the full impact of the Grand Villa Casino on the local economy, the new business in Edmonton has already provided a boost to local employment statistics. Chef Robinson supervises a large staff numbering around 100 people. With multiple restaurants, the casino employs numerous people. Prior to opening its most recent gaming establishment, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited offered employment to 200 workers from the now-defunct Baccarat Casino, and also created 200 entirely new positions.
Efforts to revitalize the downtown area should translate into steady employment opportunities for workers in a variety of positions. The Grand Villa Casino offers live entertainment to the public. For instance, on opening night, the casino sponsored festivities hosted by Jason Strudwick, a defenseman in the National Hockey League from Edmonton. This special promotion contributed to attendance rates. Periodic special events and live music performances should enhance the revenues generated by the new gaming establishment.
How Will Edmonton Use Gaming Revenues?
The prospect of generating increased gaming revenues has already produced discussions on the part of Edmonton’s city leaders. A member of the Downtown Council, Scott McKeen, speculates that the Grand Villa Casino will help revitalize the local community. He suggested using a portion of the additional revenues generated by the casino to promote projects to benefit mental health and addictive gambling treatments.
For instance, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited’s CEO, Tony Santo, has already taken action to train casino employees in an innovative project called “Game Sense”. The program allows people with problem gambling behaviors in Alberta to voluntarily place themselves on an exclusion roster at local casinos. The staffs of participating gaming establishments will prohibit people named on the list from playing games of chance in their establishments.
The Grand Villa Casino appears poised to increase Edmonton’s tourism rates. In the future, the establishment will continue boosting the economy of the downtown area!