Gateway Casinos to go from eyesore to upscale with new entertainment facility
By Bill Mah, Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - Tony Santo has heard people clamouring for the Baccarat Casino to be torn down because it’s an eyesore. He agrees.
Santo, CEO of Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., which owns the Baccarat, jokes he would be first in line to push the button blowing up the casino on 104th Avenue at 101st Street, just east of the new Rogers Place arena and the Baccarat’s eventual replacement, the Grand Villa Edmonton.
“We’re not proud of this place,” Santo said Wednesday during an interview in Baccarat’s lounge.
He politely declined to be photographed inside the Baccarat, saying the company wants to move on.
The 19-year-old business, which Burnaby-based Gateway acquired in 2002, has earned the reputation as an ugly building unsuited for such a high-profile downtown corner.
What makes things worse for Gateway is the Baccarat is losing money.
“We’re struggling here,” Santo said.
“We made a commitment to the city and to our employees to keep this property open and that’s what we’re doing, but we’re not making money here.”