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Caesars Windsor cutting back hours for sports betting counter

Caesars Windsor is cutting back hours for staff at its sportsbook, despite original assumptions that the addition of sports betting would increase the number of jobs at the casino.

“After a careful review of our sports betting trends, the operating hours of Caesars Sportsbook have been adjusted to better align with guest preferences. With these changes there were minor staff adjustments, however all staff have been retained,” a spokesperson for the casino told CBC News in a written statement.

The spokesperson also said the live sports betting area remains open on peak days and times, including during big sporting events, and that kiosk betting remains open 24/7. 

The sportsbook opened in January 2023. Single event sports betting was made legal in Canada in August 2021, which cleared the way for both in person and online gambling in the country.

“It drives traffic into the building, so you’re going to see more employment … whether it be cocktail servers, bartenders, dealers, things like that,” the casino’s CEO, Kevin Laforet, told media on the sportsbook’s opening day.

Caesars Sportsbook’s current hours of operation are 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. each day.

Impact of online gambling uncertain

Jessica Welman, editor of the online publication Canadian Gaming Business, said online sports gambling is overwhelmingly more popular than bricks-and-mortar sportsbooks.

“People like the convenience of being able to take out their phone and bet,” said Welman.

Overall, Welman says online betting in Ontario has grown each quarter since it became legal. “It really has burgeoned into a huge market,” said Welman.

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But a sports betting reporter for Canada Sports Betting, Greg Warren, said whether online gambling is having an impact on the in-person market is hard to tell. Casinos don’t break down how much of their income comes from sports betting as opposed to other kinds of games, making it difficult to track trends.

The sportsbook at Caesars Windsor opened in January 2023 after many years of campaigning by local politicians and the industry to allow single event sports betting in Canada. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

In the United States, Warren says its common to see revenue from in-person sportsbooks and online ones grow alongside one another, indicating there’s room for both markets.

“You actually do find that they’re able to peacefully coexist because the experiences of online gambling and attending a retail sportsbook, they’re quite different,” said Warren. 

Welman agrees that there will always be a space for in-person gambling.

“People like that experience and there is going to be a space for brick-and-mortar casinos to create that attraction, where it’s the event of coming to that sportsbook.” 

Caesars Windsor has its own online gaming app as well, though the spokesperson for the casino did not indicate whether the app has led to any increase in business.

CBC News reached out to Unifor Local 444, which represents workers at the casino, but has not yet received comment.

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