$1 Billion Las Vegas-Style Casino Coming to Toronto

  • A billion-dollar Vegas-style resort and casino is to open in Toronto this summer.
  • The casino will feature over 4,800 slot machines, more than 145 table games, a 5,000-seat live entertainment venue and eight different dining options.

Canada has no shortage of casinos, but the country will soon have another gaming option – a big one. A major Canadian gaming and hospitality company recently announced plans for a $1 billion facility in Toronto that will become the largest casino in the country.

Plans call for a 33-acre Las Vegas-style casino and entertainment destination adjacent to the Woodbine horse racing track. The project is spearheaded by Great Canadian Entertainment (GCE), which also owns the track, and will feature 4,800 slot machines and 145 table games. The property has been in the planning stages since 2018.

“We are very excited to reveal more about what this landmark destination will feature and what our guests can expect in the coming weeks, including the announcement of an opening date,” Great Canadian Entertainment CEO Matthew Anfinson in a statement. “We are thrilled that we are close to bringing it to life.”

More details on new Canadian casino

A completion date is expected to be released soon and the property is expected to be called
Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto. The company envisions a 400-room hotel, 5,000-seat live entertainment venue, several dining options, and more.

A news release announcing the project noted that the resort will also feature “transformative architecture” as well. Artist renderings depict a tree-lined modern facade complete with numerous windows offering views in and out of the facility.

Woodbine already houses a smaller casino and that property will remain open until the new casino resort is unveiled. GCE Executive Vice President Chuck Keeling told the Toronto Star that the project is one of the largest private-sector projects under development in the province of Ontario.

Keeling noted when the resort is complete, “its size will be similar to that of The Rogers Centre, BMO Field or Scotiabank Arena.” Company officials hope to bring something new to the Ontario casino scene.

“We see this as an unprecedented opportunity to introduce an entirely new, world-class experience in Canada,” Anfinson said, “that will bring together the best in casino gaming, exceptional live entertainment, dining, and accommodation in one very special place.”

A look at Great Canadian Entertainment

GCE is no stranger to running successful casinos and entertainment properties. Along with Woodbine, the company also operates Pickering Casino Resort just east of Toronto as well as several other Ontario casinos.

Beyond Ontario, GCE also operates casino properties in the provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. In B.C. that includes the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, one of the larger casinos in the company’s portfolio. The company also owns several racecourses and operates several restaurants within GCE casinos.

Great Canadian, headquartered in Coquitlam, B.C., is also a leader in the country’s horse racing industry, operating several tracks in Ontario and B.C. In 2021, the company was acquired for $2.5 billion by Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm based in New York City.

Apollo officials said at the time of the acquisition that growth was a key strategy going forward. The new Toronto casino resort looks to be a major part of that.

“We remain focused on continuously enhancing the overall experience for our guests,” Anfinson said, “delivering long-term growth and value creation for our stakeholders, and doing so in a socially responsible way.”

Looking ahead & possible challenges

Toronto certainly seems like a market that could support a major Vegas-style casino resort. The city is the largest in Canada with almost 3 million people and almost 7 million people in the greater Toronto metropolitan area.

However, the property won’t be without competition. The city offers numerous entertainment options from fine museums and theaters to major sports teams like the NHL’s Maple Leafs, NBA’s Raptors, MLB’s Blue Jays, CFL’s Argonauts, and more.

In Ontario, gamblers also have more than two dozen land-based casinos to choose from including larger properties like Casino Niagara, Caesars Windsor, and Niagara Fallsview Resort. The Toronto area also features several other casino and gaming options. Some have expressed some concerns that industry’s properties may be cannibalizing customers from each other within the province and the new casino could exacerbate that.

The province also saw the rollout of a completely regulated online gaming market in 2022. Numerous online real money casino wagering, poker, and sports betting companies have entered the market. Despite some of those possible competitors, the casino market in Canada remains strong since many properties reopened after the pandemic.

A 2021 study by Rhys Stevens, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, noted that various forms of gambling in Canada equated annually to at least a $14.5 billion industry. Great Canadian Entertainment officials believe that trend will continue and that a modern megaresort right in Toronto will bring plenty of gamblers in the doors.

Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M University, his work has appeared in numerous publications and websites. Sean has covered the gaming and poker industry for many years and also writes about about numerous other topics.