Canadian Gaming Industry Celebrates Outstanding Achievement and Raises Money for United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County

by NationTalk on May 1, 20091231 Views

WINDSOR, ON, April 30 – The Canadian gaming industry will recognize the achievements of several of its leaders tonight during the third annual Canadian Gaming Awards Gala Benefit, part of the 2009 Canadian Gaming Summit. Proceeds from the event, held at Caesar’s Windsor, will be donated to United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County.
“The Canadian gaming industry is made up of innovative organizations and hard-working, creative individuals,” said Bill Rutsey, president of the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), and host of the Summit and awards gala. “They are making their companies great places to work, their communities better places to live, and the industry stronger, more responsible and more successful.”

“The industry is also pleased to contribute to United Way / Centraide Windsor-Essex County, an organization that is making a significant difference in people’s lives,” notes Mr. Rutsey.

Locally driven and governed, United Way / Centraide Windsor-Essex County works with agencies, government, business and labour to find lasting solutions to health and human service issues. They support a range of programs and services for children and youth, individuals and families, people with disabilities, seniors and community support agencies.

“This donation from the Canadian Gaming Association will have a positive impact on the overall health and well-being of
the citizens and communities in Windsor Essex,” said Sheila Wisdom, Executive Director of United Way / Centraide Windsor-Essex County.

The Canadian Gaming Awards recognize excellence and achievement in two distinct areas: Exemplary Volunteerism &
Community Support and Industry Leadership & Outstanding Contribution.

In the Exemplary Volunteerism & Community Support Category, the winners are Manitoba Lotteries Corporation MLC) and Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG).

Manitoba Lotteries Corporation has a strong spirit of community involvement with unique programs such as ECHO (Employees Care by Helping Others) and a $5 million Legacy Fund which helps Habitat for Humanity build homes for families. ECHO was created in 2006 by a group of MLC employees who decided to reach out into the community and give employees the platform to fundraise for a charity of their collective choosing. To date, over $200,000 has been raised for two charities – the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba and the Children’s Hospital Asthma, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Renovation Project. A spin-off program, REAP (Rewards for Employee Action and Participation), acknowledges employees who volunteer in the community through MLC’s corporate donation of $125 for each employee who has completed over 50 hours of volunteer service or canvassed $500 or more.

Woodbine Entertainment Group, a not-for-profit corporation, continues to be the largest horse racing operation in Canada and is one of the largest live-racing programs in the world. It operates two racetracks in Ontario – Woodbine Racetrack, located in the northwest corner of Toronto, and Mohawk Racetrack, in Campbellville. These two racetracks also offer slot machine gaming under agreements with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. WEG supports and lends its leadership to numerous communityorganizations and causes like Toronto Children’s Breakfast Clubs, scholarship funds and other initiatives. As the sole sponsor of the Woodbine Children’s Breakfast Club, WEG partners with the charity for the annual holiday toy drive. Through their community support programs, WEG also sponsors the Youth Gang Exit and Ambassador Leadership Program, which helps young people develop the skills to help reduce crime and gives them hope for a meaningful future after gang life. WEG is also the largest single corporate sponsor of The Gatehouse, a program that provides community response to child abuse victims. WEG is a member of Imagine Canada, is a national charitable organization that supports Canada’s charities and non-profit organizations. In total WEG donates three per cent of its net revenues to the charity, exceeding Imagine Canada’s suggest target of one per cent.

Award winners for Industry Leadership & Outstanding Contribution are: Art Frank, President of Niagara Casinos; Dave Gadhia, CEO of Gateway Casinos & Entertainment; and Paul Newton, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority SIGA).

Art Frank began his gaming career in 1978 and has held a variety of positions in facilities throughout the Bahamas, the United States and Canada. He was the first General Manager of the Par-A-Dice Riverboat Casino in Peoria, Illinois, and was responsible for the opening of Carnival’s Casino Rouge property in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When he arrived at Niagara Casinos in 2006, market conditions were less than favourable, including rising gasoline prices, increased border restrictions and a weaker US dollar. Sensing an opportunity to expand, he added a deli and two restaurants, doubled the size of the spa, started hotel renovations and built a luxurious martini lounge overlooking the Falls. He also overhauled the company’s marketing, entertainment and motor coach programs. Revenues at Niagara Casinos have since stabilized and profitability is on the upswing.

Dave Gadhia, CEO, oversees Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Inc., one of the largest casino and entertainment companies in Western Canada, headquartered in Burnaby, BC. Gateway is celebrating 16 years in business with a portfolio of casino properties that include the Grand Villa, Starlight, Cascades, Lake City Casinos (located in Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna & Penticton) and Baccarat and Palace Casinos in Edmonton, AB.

Gateway employs over 3,100 people whose dedication to customer service is viewed as the foundation for the company’s growth and success. Gadhia has recently led the development of two new facilities – Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby and Starlight Casino in New Westminster, as well as the expansion of the Cascades Casino in Langley. Gadhia has been with the company since its inception in 1992 and also serves on the Board of Burnaby Hospital Foundation, as well as a director for a number of other private and public companies. He has been awarded the Canadian Gaming News’ Outstanding Achievement Award and the Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 Award.

Paul Newton has worked extensively in the gaming industry over the past two decades including posts with Mikohn Gaming Corporation, Rideau Carleton Racetrack, Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation, Western Canada Lottery Corporation and his current employer, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA), for the past five years. Newton lends a unique combination of public and private sector experience encompassing all aspects of gaming. He has exhibited remarkable versatility, managing three expansion projects simultaneously, bringing all of them in under budget. Due to his efforts, SIGA’s expansion program created 750 new positions for the company, and far exceeded targets for First Nations labour hours during the construction phase.

The Canadian Gaming Summit is a three-day gathering of more than 1,200 industry representatives hosted by the CGA. Attendees represent all aspects of Canada’s gaming industry, including casinos, horseracing, bingo, lottery, charitable, gaming equipment suppliers, legal and financial professionals, First Nations representatives, security experts, and many others. Complete information on the 2009 Canadian Gaming Summit can be found at www.canadiangamingsummit.com.

The Canadian Gaming Association represents the gaming industry’s leading operators, manufacturers, suppliers and other stakeholders nation-wide. www.canadiangaming.ca

For further information: Media contact: Paul Burns, Vice-President, Public Affairs, Canadian Gaming Association, Direct: (416) 304-6870, Cell:(416) 579-3922, burns@canadiangaming.ca

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