(Submitted photo)

Dresden Slots’ Move To Chatham A Sure Bet

Gateway Casinos won’t confirm the move, but two Chatham-Kent councillors say they’ve been told the slots in Dresden will be heading to Chatham — and possibly expanding to include table games.

Officials with the casino say the slots in Dresden will remain operational until 2020, but they’re declining any further comment on their plans.

However, Councillor Joe Faas says someone from Gateway Casinos called him recently and confirmed they are planning to move to Chatham.

“They basically indicated that it was a marketing process that they did… they felt that a bigger population would generate more income than it would in Dresden,” says Faas. “There was no swaying at all… I think it was just more of a call for them to inform me that’s what’s going to happen.”

Faas says from what he understands, the plan is to expand the slots into a full-fledged casino when the facility moves to Chatham.

The move will deal a significant blow to the Dresden-area, though, according to both Faas and fellow North Kent Councillor Leon Leclair.

“It’s not going to kill [Dresden], but it’s frustrating when a big organization doesn’t sit down with local representation to see if there is potentially an option to stay where they are,” says Leclair. “It’s going to be a plus for Chatham-Kent because it’s probably going to be a bigger building — more jobs may be created… but it’s not good for Dresden.”

It’s not clear whether the casino plans to take its existing employees over to a new facility, either. Workers at Dresden Casino did recently accept a new contract with Gateway Casinos and Entertainment that included language covering job security in the event of a relocation, but it’s a three-year deal that was ratified on November 13, 2017.