view counter
view counter

Fraser Downs Becomes Elements

Published: June 25, 2015 10:42 am ET

Last Comment: June 25, 2015 12:57 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Wednesday, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation announced the launch of Elements Casino, set to open this winter. Elements Casino will replace the existing Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino. What does this mean for harness racing in British Columbia?

Trot Insider discussed the announcement with Chuck Keeling, Vice President, Stakeholder Relations and Responsible Gaming for Great Canadian. Keeling noted that Wednesday's announcement was more geared toward the project than the harness racing component, but the racing side was made well aware of the changes and had a chance to ask questions before Wednesday's public unveiling. Among the questions asked, is Fraser Downs still going to be called Fraser Downs?

"We did a brand reveal to all of our staff yesterday (Tuesday) , a day prior to the public announcement, and naturally that was one of the questions as well because we're not specific around what it means in the promotional material that's been launched," Keeling told Trot Insider. "That's not to hide some negative implications this could have for racing.

"We were silent on this because we haven't launched all the details about the actual project yet, but we will be keeping the Fraser Downs name as it relates to everything related to our racing program."

Keeling did go on to say that there could be some hybrid name in the future that ties the name of the racetrack with the new Elements branding, similar to what has happened with Pocono Downs and Charlottetown Driving Park, but nothing has been etched in stone as of yet.

"The challenge with this is, irrespective of when we actually started this project, we're going to be overlapping with day-to-day operations -- racing and otherwise," continued Keeling. "So the challenge for us, as of October 1, when we open (for live racing) to sometime in December which is our anticipated time for launch, we're going to have a couple of months where at least on the racing operation side there's going to be impact."

With the redevelopment, Elements Casino will aspire to be Canada's all-inclusive, full service gaming entertainment venue that delivers unrivaled personal service, exciting live entertainment options, unsurpassed dining experiences and gaming offerings consisting of casino games and standardbred horse racing.

Keeling notes that this will be the third major overhaul of the facility in the last 20 years, with the track changing to Fraser Downs' current five-eighths mile structure in 1995 and the introduction of expanded gaming in 2005.

"That's coincidental," said Keeling with a laugh, acknowledging the 10-year spans between each major project, but also confirming the inconvenience to the horsepeople during the transformation will be minor.

"I'd say from a horseman's perspective, there's zero impact," continued Keeling, noting that there could be minor inconveniences like using temporary entrances for the guests and patrons. Keeling also confirmed that race dates will not be impacted.

Scheduled to open late this year, Elements Casino will feature more than 550 state-of-the-art interactive slot machines along with table games such as baccarat, blackjack, roulette and poker.

"This will be a unique brand, specific to this property. That is absolutely our intention, it was part of the reason why we chose the name," said Keeling, noting that more than 300 names were considered as part of the process. "We landed on Elements because of the different elements of entertainment that this place is going to offer."

Guests will also be able to enjoy new dining options focused on profiling fresh and modern menu styles all while experiencing live entertainment showcasing local and regional talent. In addition, Elements Casino will continue to offer live standardbred racing six months per year as well as year-round simulcast racing. The 2015 standardbred racing season will commence once again on October 1.

"It's trying to appeal to more than just the gambler, and whether that is a table player or slot player or horse player...somebody that can come into a facility and maybe have a bite to eat, a couple of drinks, watch a live show of some sort with a live band or comedian, etc., and if they choose to put $10 on the fourth race, or put $10 into a slot machine or $10 on a blackjack table, their visit to that facility doesn't necessarily have to be predicated upon that.

"The earlier iterations of gaming facilities with racetracks and casinos, that was largely what it was premised we all know: you're only going there really to gamble," said Keeling. "I think it's trying to move past that and encompass all of those entertainment amenities. That's what we're trying to do."

(with files from Great Canadian)

June 25, 2015 - 12:57 pmA model for Ontario.

A model for Ontario. Integration anyone? The only way to lure and expose the younger demographic to racing to help grow the sport and gaming in general.

view counter

© 2021 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal