Niagara Falls, Ont., mayor wants free booze in casinos
Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor Jim Diodati. (Mike DiBattista/QMI Agency File Photo)
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor Jim Diodati says casinos near the border need to offer complimentary booze to patrons to combat stiff U.S. competition.
“We’re getting beat at our own game,” Diodati said, pointing to the fact the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, N.Y., is luring many Canadian gamblers by offering free alcohol to go along with smoking.
Attendance and revenues at Ontario casinos have dropped dramatically in recent years.
“There are solutions to our problems, but you cannot be afraid to fail,” he said. “Doing nothing is not a solution. This is not a time to turtle.”
Seneca Niagara Casino’s website says “all beverages received while playing any slot machine or table games are available at no cost to you.”
A similar page on the Niagara Fallsview Casino’s website says, “Due to government regulations it is against the law to serve complimentary alcohol in Canada.”
If Ontario’s border casinos cannot offer the amenities patrons want, such as free alcohol, they will continue to lose ground, Diodati said.
He said he’s confident the province sees the “trajectory of gaming” in Ontario and will make changes soon.
Niagara Falls New Democrat MPP Wayne Gates agrees. With the price of gas well under $1 a litre and the loonie at a five-year low, it’s a prime time to attract Americans to Ontario casinos again and free alcohol should be considered, he said.
“But we have to make sure there are programs in place to help people if that becomes an issue,” he said.