Snuneymuxw First Nation Acquires Casino Nanaimo from Great Canadian

The Snuneymuxw First Nation, through its Petroglyph Development Group Ltd., is set to acquire Casino Nanaimo from Great Canadian Entertainment. This landmark deal will see the Vancouver Island property, owned by Great Canadian since its opening in 1986, transfer to Snuneymuxw ownership.

Great Canadian announced the agreement, approved unanimously by its board of directors, on Monday. The transaction is pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Additionally, Great Canadian will provide transitional services to Petroglyph for up to two years post-closing.

A significant aspect of the deal is the return of the land, part of the Snuneymuxw xwsol’lexwel village, to the First Nation. Petroglyph already holds a majority stake in the adjacent Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

Great Canadian CEO Matt Anfinson expressed confidence in Petroglyph and the Snuneymuxw First Nation’s ability to continue the casino’s legacy. He highlighted the casino’s role in generating revenue, employing local residents, and contributing to the community for 38 years. Anfinson emphasized the company’s commitment to a seamless transition for the Casino Nanaimo team, guests, and the community.

Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse stated that the First Nation is dedicated to maintaining high standards of guest service and community contributions. He recognized the work of past Snuneymuxw leaders and anticipated significant economic growth and community benefits from the acquisition.

Petroglyph CEO Ian Simpson echoed these sentiments, noting that the acquisition would unlock substantial economic potential for the Snuneymuxw Nation. Casino Nanaimo features over 400 slot machines, live table games, electronic table games, and a restaurant.

Impact on Great Canadian Entertainment

This transaction is the first major deal since Pauline Alimchandani took over as Great Canadian’s CFO on March 31. Great Canadian operates two dozen casinos across Canada, including properties in British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

In B.C., the company also runs Great Canadian Casino Vancouver, Hastings Racecourse and Casino, three Elements Casino locations, and other properties.

Vancouver Casino Expansion

Great Canadian could benefit from potential casino expansions in Vancouver. The city council recently voted to amend a moratorium on casino expansion, potentially allowing more gambling options at Hastings Racecourse and Parq Casino Vancouver. This policy change, requested by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), aims to increase revenue for the city and local communities.

BCLC estimates that expanding operations at Parq or Hastings could increase government revenue by $2.6 million to $5 million annually. Discussions will involve the City of Vancouver, government entities, and public health officials to explore potential expansion proposals.

Currently, Hastings Racecourse has 446 slot machines out of an allowed 600, with potential for further expansion in the future.

This acquisition marks a significant milestone for the Snuneymuxw First Nation and reflects ongoing developments in B.C.’s gaming industry.


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