In Canada, the two provincially-run casinos in Winnipeg have announced plans to run a four-month pilot program that will see the pair offer around-the-clock gaming over the weekends.
According to a report from the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper, the test at the Manitoba Liquor And Lotteries Corporation venues is set to begin from December 2 and means that the Club Regent Casino and McPhillips Station Casino will open from 10am on Fridays before closing at 3am on the subsequent Mondays.
Peter Hak, Acting Chief Executive Officer for the Manitoba Liquor And Lotteries Corporation, told the newspaper that the Winnipeg casinos are some of the last in the country not to operate on a 24-hour basis and that the temporary pilot will bring the venues in line with those in other provinces such as Ontario and Alberta.
“We always evaluate what other casinos are doing and what the market demands are and usually on the weekends we see a fair amount of people in our building and we sort of force them to go home,” Hak told the Winnipeg Free Press. “Since they are already in the building, we want to see what the test will be if we stay open 24 hours.”
The Crown corporation explained that the Club Regent Casino and McPhillips Station Casino often see rises in traffic on weekends with many guests wanting to remain at the tables when the doors close at 3am.
“What we’ve discovered is that weekends are our highest visitation and at closing time on weekends we have about 300 to 400 people in the casino playing,” Susan Olynik, Corporate Communications And Social Responsibility Vice-President for the Manitoba Liquor And Lotteries Corporation, told local television broadcaster CTV.
As part of the pilot program, the Manitoba Liquor And Lotteries Corporation revealed that the Manitoba casinos will not serve liquor past 2am while the pair will moreover not be open over the Christmas weekend, closing at 6pm on December 24 before re-opening at 10am on December 26.
The Manitoba Liquor And Lotteries Corporation declared that it intends to judge the success of the pilot program “measured by the revenues we earn” while the Winnipeg Free Press reported that all casinos in the western province could subsequently apply to stay open around-the-clock if this test is found to have been worthwhile.