Century Downs Racetrack and Casino officially opened doors in the Canadian city of Calgary on April 1. The first horse races are set to begin on April 25.
The venue is located not far from the Calgary International Airport and the CrossIron Mills mall, which is known to be one of the local attractions. The casino spreads over 33,500 square feet and features an off-track betting room, 550 electronic table games and slot machines. Owners are also considering the possibility to add a hotel at some point in future.
Bill Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, commented that the venue is a world-class one and will certainly revive horse racing in the province. Furthermore, this will imminently lead to rejuvenation of horse breeding and training, and other related activities.
The horse track was to open in 2007, but the project was delayed repeatedly due to numerous financial issues. The construction was eventually funded by Colorado-based gambling operator Century Casinos.
As mentioned above, horse racing events will commence on April 25. Thoroughbred races are expected to start sometime in 2016. Being a Class A facility, Century Downs Racetrack and Casino will have to annually run 100 days of horse racing.
Bleachers around the track will accommodate as many as 300 spectators. At present, the venue features one barn with room for 100 horses. A second one with capacity for 200 more horses will be added in July. A third one will be completed in 2016.
Shirley McClellan, Chief Executive Officer of Horse Racing Alberta, said that she was really excited about the launch of Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, as Calgary has been looking to it for quite some time. She also pointed out that a lot of breeders are from the southern part of Alberta and the new venue will be beneficial to them, as well.
The amount of C$1.5 billion is annually generated from gambling activities across Alberta and a considerable portion of the revenue goes for the construction of hospitals, road maintenance, local charities, etc.
The new property is expected to attract both Calgary residents and visitors from nearby cities that still do not have gambling venues on their territories.