Two years after the completion of Fallsview Casino Resort’s brand-new event centre, the 5,000-seat-venue is still not operational. In the summer, on its website, the gaming property announced several live entertainment shows for the amenity. However, in a recent message, the website now displays a message that all entertainment at the venue is put on hold.
The project for the new event centre was first announced back in 2017 and it was initially scheduled to open in early 2019, however, due to a provincewide sheet metal strike it was delayed to late 2019. Then work continued in early 2020, and then the unprecedented situation hit the world, which delayed its opening even further.
Still No Official Date
As the unprecedented situation hit the casino industry in 2020, Fallsview Casino Resort closed down in March 2020, and it remained non-functional until July 2021, when Ontario relaxed health protocols. Then last summer, the casino announced some events for the unopened multi-million event center but they were relocated to the casino’s current venue, the 1,500-seat Avalon Theatre.
However, to many people’s bewilderment, neither the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation nor the Niagara Falls casino have provided an update on why the event centre still has not been launched. The situation has even agitated Niagara Falls’ Mayor Jim Diodati, who was hopeful that the new theater would be a crucial part of the city’s summer tourism season.
The mayor shared that he is beyond frustrated with the theatre’s situation. He pointed out that the venue should have launched months ago. But the fact that it didn’t, has made him quite vocal and aggressive on the matter. He has been a major supporter of the amenity, as according to him, it would bring big-name performers and tourism into the city.
Despite opening in July 2021, live shows did not make a return until November 2021 at the Avalon Theatre. Previously, Niagara Casinos’ President Richard Taylor, stated that the company is working on the launch. He shared that the company will provide more updates on the venue in the near future, as opening and show dates are still subject to work, with casino partners.
In addition to that, Mr. Diodati commented that there are a few issues with the specs of the building and that there is a little bit of finger-pointing happening right now. He says that he does not know who is at fault for the issues, and he just wants to see it up and running. He added that the OLG is committed to launching the new event centre by September or October 2022.
Meanwhile, last month, Niagara Falls received its fourth-quarter non-tax gaming revenue allocation from the OLG. This payment is a quarterly issued payment to the municipality for the hosting of Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort. For Q4 of last year’s financial year, it reached the impressive CA$2.9 million. Since the opening of the two casinos, the city has pocketed over CA$175 million in gaming revenue.
Source: Law, John “Waiting game continues for casino’s new theatre to open”, Niagara Falls Review, May 10, 2022