Strikes continue at biggest Canada casinos, Caesars Windsor & Hard Rock Vancouver.
Two of the largest casinos in Canada have fallen under hard times lately. Last month, the Caesars Windsor was forced to close its doors as thousands of employees went on strike. Last Friday, the Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver saw about 400 of its employees take to the picket lines.
The only difference between the two is that The Hard Rock Vancouver remains open during these uncertain times. Players can still access all scheduled events, two restaurants, and the full variety of slot machines. Missing their expert table games dealers, however, only a few blackjack and baccarat table remain open.
Biggest Canada Casinos on Strike
Caesars Windsor is one of the nation’s largest gaming facilities. It is owned by the province’s government regulators, Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG), and operated by one of the most famous casino corporations in the world, Caesars Entertainment.
Located in southern Ontario, overlooking the Detroit skyline, the massive resort attracts players from both Canada and the US. Or at least, it did, right up until April 5, 2018, when more than 2,000 unionized employees went on strike.
Since then, some Detroit casinos have seen a notable boost in clientele. The MotorCity Casino and MGM Grand Detroit experienced year-over-year revenue bursts of 4% and 3% respectively in April.
Alex Calderone is the managing director of Birmingham-based Calderone Advisory Group. He says he has “a strong suspicion that the closure of Windsor has resulted in more dollars flowing across the border.”
Calderone adds that, “The longer that casino is closed, the better it is for Detroit.”
Revenue results and commentary like that clearly has both operators and staff members of the Ontario casino itching to get back to negotiations. Talks are set to resume this morning, and Unifor Local 444 President David Cassidy is hopeful they’ll “come away with a fair and equitable agreement”.
Long Road Ahead for Hard Rock Vancouver
As Caesars Windsor hopes to wrap up its strike and get back to business as usual, things are just heating up at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver. The largest casino in all of British Columbia by square footage, The Hard Rock saw its employees walk out Friday morning. Little warning was given, with only a last-minute notice issued by the BC Government and Service Employees Union (BCGSEU) on Thursday.
The situation is remarkably similar. Employees want better wages, better benefits packages, stable pension plans, etc. After failing to come to agreeable terms with the casino’s operators, Great Canadian Gaming, for the last 16 months, workers finally put their foot down.
The biggest problem these workers face is that the casino was not forced to close its doors. It remained open over the weekend, playing host to a concert by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. While the shortage of employees was surely a strain, management is determined to stay open throughout the strike. If the casino can continue to draw customers, all the pressure to acquiesce falls upon the union workers.
Union members aren’t make it easy, though. Several potential customers have already complained on Facebook that they can’t even access the parking lot, much less casino, due to the mob of picketers outside.
Over at the Windsor property, the incalculable loss of revenue for the casino and its formidable pair of 23- and 27-story hotel towers is surely putting the pressure on the operator. Workers can expect a renewed vigor to compromise from Caesars management.
Speculations aside, only time will tell when either of the strikes at the biggest Canada casinos will finally be resolved.