Casino du Lac Leamy betting completed renovations will drive revenue

Beset by falling revenues, Gatineau’s Casino du Lac Leamy is hoping a bid to reverse its fortunes with a $47-million renovation project will come up aces.


“It’s no secret that revenues are down in all the casinos in Quebec … and throughout the gaming industry,” casino spokesperson Catherine Schellenberg said on Friday, when the revamp that began in the fall of 2012 was officially completed. “We’re hoping that current customers will enjoy the things that we’ve added … but we also have built things that will draw a new customer base.”
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She said the makeover is designed to stave off growing competition and refresh the look of the casino, which opened in 1996.

“For us, being so close to Ontario and close to the U.S. border, the number of casinos has increased substantially in the years since the casino has opened,” said Ms. Schellenberg. “We had no competition back in the day, and now we have something like 85 casinos that are within a couple hours’ drive.”

The explosion of illegal online gambling sites has also eaten into the building’s bottom line, she added.  

“Before, we only had to deal with competition from casinos,” she said. “People can sit at home and play poker in their pyjamas, which is also competition for us.”

In 2013-14, the Casino du Lac Leamy generated $243 million in revenues, Ms. Schellenberg said, a drop of about eight per cent from the previous fiscal year. The number of visitors was also down from the overall average of about three million, although officials say they don’t have accurate figures because of the number of construction workers constantly leaving and entering the building.

To combat that decline, the casino has unveiled a number of new elements designed to attract a younger crowd. Among them are a “multimedia ribbon” that can project different images around the outer rim of the gaming area and a “multimedia chandelier” with more than 4,000 LED lights that can be individually programmed.

“At the press of a button, we can instantly change the atmosphere,” Ms. Schellenberg said. “If there’s been a jackpot that’s been won, for example, we can immediately project that on to the multimedia (screens). No matter where you are, you know that something is going on, whether it’s a jackpot, whether it’s a promotion.”

Casinos, like many other businesses, need to reinvent themselves to stay relevant in a digital world, she said.

“For a very long time, our position was, customer service, that’s where we can really stand out. That vision will remain, but I think hand in hand with providing great customer service is we have to provide a great entertainment experience.”

Officials say they haven’t put a number on how much new revenue they expect the changes to bring to the casino, which has about 60 gaming tables and 1,800 slot machines.

“The hope is that we will be able to draw more customers and at the end of the day more revenues,” Ms. Schellenberg said.

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