Great Canadian Entertainment

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Great Canadian Entertainment
FormerlyGreat Canadian Gaming Corporation
Company typePrivate
IndustryGaming and hospitality
HeadquartersNorth York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Number of employees
9,400 (2018)
ParentApollo Global Management

Great Canadian Entertainment is a Canadian gaming, entertainment and hospitality company. Prior to its acquisition by Apollo Global Management in September 2021, the company was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and was part of the S&P/TSX Composite Index.


Great Canadian operates 25 gaming properties in Canada, consisting of casinos, horse race tracks (with slot machines), and smaller-scale gaming centres. It also runs hotels, restaurants, and entertainment facilities associated with its properties. As of the third quarter of 2017, 67% of revenue was from gaming.[1] As of 2018, it had 9,400 employees.[2] In 2016, 61% of revenues were from British Columbia, 17% were from Ontario, 15% were from Atlantic Canada, and the rest were from the United States.[2] In total, Great Canadian properties include 16,000 slot machines, 386 table games, 80 dining establishments and 500 hotel rooms.[3]

In 2017, the company's gross gaming revenue was about $1.2 billion, with net earnings for 2017 of $85.7 million.[4]


The company was founded in 1982 as the Great Canadian Casino Company.[5] It initially operated charity casinos and a casino at Vancouver's Pacific National Exhibition.[5] In 1986, it opened its first permanent casino in Vancouver.[5] It held an IPO on the TSX Venture Exchange in 1992, and renamed itself the Great Canadian Gaming Company in 1997.[5] In 2004, it listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.[5] In 2005, it acquired a number of casinos in Ontario and Nova Scotia.[6] As a result of these acquisitions, it breached debt agreements in March 2006.[7]

Great Canadian has been investigated for money laundering that allegedly took place at their River Rock Casino Resort.[8] The company has released a statement saying that it has followed all the necessary procedures.[9]

In August 2017, Great Canadian (in cooperation with Brookfield Property Partners) won a bidding process to take over the slots facility at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto from the OLG.[10] It also took over the slots at the Ajax Downs track and the Great Blue Heron Casino. The then-opposition Ontario PCs called for the deal to be halted due to the money laundering allegations.[11]

In December 2017, Great Canadian (in cooperation with Clairvest Group) won a process to take over four more OLG facilities.[12]

In January 2021, president and CEO Rodney Baker resigned after he and his wife were discovered to have booked a private plane to travel to Beaver Creek, Yukon and deceived medical personnel by saying they were local motel workers to obtain doses of a COVID-19 vaccine intended for the indigenous community.[13][14]

In September 2021, the company was acquired by Apollo Global Management in an all-cash deal and its shares were delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange.[15]


River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia

British Columbia[edit]


Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto opened in 2023

Atlantic Canada[edit]


  1. ^ "Great Canadian Gaming Corporation - 2017 Q3 Financial Statement". Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Great Canadian Gaming Corporation - Annual Information Form 2016". Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  3. ^ "Great Canadian Gaming Corporation - Who We Are".
  4. ^ "Financials - Great Canadian Gaming Corporation". Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "History - Great Canadian Gaming Corporation". Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  6. ^ Luciw, Roma (February 13, 2006). "Great Canadian Gaming sinks". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "Great Canadian Gaming posts Q4 loss, may breach debt pacts". CBC News. March 20, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  8. ^ "Great Canadian Gaming says its B.C. casino follows rules amid allegations of illegal activity". BNN. October 23, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "Gaming Corporation responds to allegations of money laundering at River Rock Casino". Global News. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Warmington, Joe (August 8, 2017). "World-class casino slated for Woodbine". Toronto Sun. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  11. ^ Wilson, Codi (October 30, 2017). "Ontario PCs want deal with company chosen to run Woodbine Racetrack halted". CTVNews Toronto. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  12. ^ "Great Canadian Gaming and Clairvest win Ontario casino deal". Financial Post. December 19, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  13. ^ "Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after allegedly flying to Yukon for COVID-19 vaccine". British Columbia. January 25, 2021. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  14. ^ "Canadian mogul fined after getting Covid vaccine meant for Indigenous residents". The Guardian. January 25, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  15. ^ "Great Canadian Gaming names new CEO as U.S. private equity fund Apollo takes control". The Globe and Mail. September 22, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Bitonti, David (March 7, 2013). "River Rock: More than a house of gambling". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  17. ^ Kovach, Joelle (August 10, 2017). "Kawartha Downs workers fear job losses however since the reopening of Kawartha Downs a lot of those employees have been re hired". Peterborough Examiner. Archived from the original on December 18, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  18. ^ Miller, Jason (January 10, 2017). "Casino announces opening". The Belleville Intelligencer. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  19. ^ Kovach, Joelle (October 15, 2018). "Lineups for opening of new Shorelines Casino Peterborough". The Peterborough Examiner.