Surrey casino bets on a new brand

A Cloverdale landmark and 'giant juggernaut' of the local economy reopens as Elements Casino this Thursday after a multimillion update.

A new name and logo are among the changes in store at Elements Casino after a multimillion update.

Months of speculation about a multimillion dollar renovation and re-branding come to an end tomorrow, when a Cloverdale landmark holds its grand re-opening as Elements Casino.

The doors open at 8 p.m. Dec. 17 at the former Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino. Great Canadian Gaming Corp. has spent a reported $11 million making over the facility – about what it spent transforming its Coquitlam casino into the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, adding a range of new food and beverage options, live entertainment spaces, table games and new slot machines,

Live standardbred and simulcast horse racing will continue to be featured, maintaining a connection to the casino’s roots as a racetrack.

The casino has gone on a hiring spree, increasing its workforce by 25 per cent, boosting the number of employees from about 290 to 380 in order to position itself as a full service entertainment destination in Canada’s fast-growing city, hiring new food and beverage and casino staff, many of them from Surrey, general manager Michael Kim told the Reporter Monday during a preview tour for news media.

http://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wSlotsAtrium.jpg“It’s something we’re pretty proud of,” said Kim, who also oversaw the Hard Rock Casino rebranding before landing in Cloverdale in January 2015 to do the same thing here. “We want to make sure we hire locally and support the community.”

The casino and racetrack have remained open during renovations, meaning guests have seen some of the changes themselves, such as the updated main entrance and atrium on the main floor, where there are 150 added slots and a new Molson Canadian lounge area that will sell food from one of the four kitchens at Elements and provide a small entertainment space for performers.

To be unveiled is the Diamond Buffet, which will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and Foodies, an eatery on the upper casino floor offering casual fare.

Kim said the buffet is designed to be multi-purpose, serving hungry visitors and casino-goers along with privately-booked parties for special events of up to 150 people.

Upstairs, the Escape lounge is a similarly multi-purpose venue that seats 300 and will feature live entertainment on the weekends such as cover bands and other regional talent.

“We can have private functions, banquets and weddings here,” he said.

There are 68 new slot machines post-makeover, bringing the total at Elements to 537. New gaming options include a semi-private baccarat room, and more table games such as blackjack and roulette.

Figuring out what amenities to include, what cosmetic changes to make, and whether to change the name was an exhaustive exercise that involved internal focus groups and a lot of soul-searching.

Deciding what “elements” the rebranded casino should offer helped provide inspiration for the new name, said Kim.

There will be tears on opening night – the chance to build something new has been a welcome opportunity for administration and staff alike, said Kim.

Originally known as the Cloverdale Raceway, the racetrack has been a fixture of the local economy, employing hundreds and providing spinoff jobs such ahttp://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wMichaelKimhomestretch2.jpgs feed sales, veterinary care, farrier services, and breeders.

“They live here. They’re huge supporters in the economy,” said Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale BIA.

[Michael Kim, left, is general manager of Elements Casino – Jennifer Lang photo]

It’s the first major overhaul since the raceway re-opened in 2004 after a $40 million redevelopment as Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino.

The racetrack has since contributed more than $30 million to the city in gaming revenues, Orazietti said.

“It’s a giant juggernaut. It’s one of the biggest employers in Cloverdale,” he said. “The business community wants to support it.”

Orazietti said local reaction to the upgrade has been positive, although it remains to be seen how the changes will impact racing.

The provincial government allows the racing side of operations a proportionate share of slot machine revenue.

“There’s a need from the government to have a more definitive goal in how it wants to support harness racing,” he said. “Their future is in the hands of the government.”

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Just Posted

Noted fiddlers bring kids to Surrey stage for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’ concert

Bell theatre date for Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy as they reunite for 23-city tour of Canada

Surrey-based business donates $1M to hospital’s children centre improvements

Surrey Hospital Foundation kicks off campaign for ‘transformation’ of children’s centre

OUR VIEW: Surrey’s unsung heroes inspire

The Now-Leader was proud to celebrate some deserving unsung heroes in this city on Wednesday night

North Delta family raising money for brain cancer treatment

23-year-old Tashina Janus and her family are raising funds to get her immunotherapy in the U.S.

Surrey opera singer brings Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ to Vancouver stage

Nancy Hasiuk-Lay has been hailed for her ‘sparkling and crystalline vocal tone’

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

Surrey mayor claims he can extend Skytrain for the $1.65 billion already committed to light rail

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Most Read