Rocky View County (RVC) council has approved a letter of support on behalf of Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, which is attempting to apply to the Province for an expansion to be able to offer live table games.
The item came before council during a regular meeting May 11.
“Part of the application process requires a letter of support from the municipality,” said David Kalinchuk with RVC's business and development department. “We also saw this as an opportunity to support the folks at Century Downs and the great business that they operate.”
The Balzac-based casino and racetrack has been open since 2015, offering video lottery terminals, slot machines and electronic roulette, as well as live and off-track horse race betting. Century Downs is the only casino within RVC limits, and caters to a wide audience of north Calgary, RVC and Airdrie residents.
Since opening, it has been known to “contribute significantly” to RVC’s tax base. It currently provides approximately 400 jobs and contributes $20 million to the local economy, according to the report to council.
“Century Downs management views the addition of live table games as an added marketable feature for the business, and expects it to increase tourism and local economic growth and provide additional employment to the region,” the report stated. “Other gaming operators in the region have this additional “live” feature, and Century Downs believes this addition would place them on equal footing with their peers.”
The letter of support, signed by Reeve Daniel Henn, said introducing live table games will build on the world-class gaming and entertainment experience that guests receive in Balzac.
“The addition of live table gaming will help sustain and create new jobs,” Henn wrote in the letter. “This will stimulate entertainment revenues across the gaming, food and beverage services.
“It will create spin-off economic benefits for retail, hotel, and entertainment businesses in the Balzac area as a destination for domestic and international tourists.”
Henn said it is worth noting that community groups who participate in casino fundraising events would also be supported by the expansion of the facility’s operations.
“In RVC and the Calgary Region, these non-profit partnerships benefit greatly from casino fundraising at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino,” he said.
Coun. Kevin Hanson said the addition of live table gaming will help the casino stay competitive and “keep the playing field level.”
Coun. Jerry Gautreau said he supports the motion because to him, Century Downs is a “world class operation.”
“This is going to help communities within our area where some of the winnings will go,” he said.
The item for the letter of support was passed unanimously. Representatives from the casino could not be reached for comment before press time.