The CNE Casino is a temporary casino that pops up every year at the National Exhibition in Toronto, Canada. It is a popular draw to the festival and its proceeds go a long way to helping the festival stay open. The casino floor is located in the better living centre and is open from 12pm to 6am.
History of the CNE Casino
Betting in one form or another has long been a staple of agricultural fairs in Canada for the past century. In bigger forms, horse racing was held and betted on at many venues, and in smaller forms raffles and wheels of fortune were popular amongst all ages. The beginning of proper casinos at state fairs in Toronto started with the Western Fair in 1978, when the province permitted a gaming licence to the fair and a large gaming room was set up with various table games and slots. The CNE itself first pitched for a licence to open a gaming room in 1980,hoing for a blackjack room with $1 bets being opened in the coliseum. This was rejected by the city council that feared rising crime rates and gambling addiction.
Other attempts to get a licence were put forward in 1981 and 1984, even including a charity and proposing that all the casino room proceeds go towards said charity. All were shot down. In 1991, the now expected proposal was dismissed without even a debate, but had to be reconsidered due to nearly 100 charitable organisations holding a mass rally at Exhibition Place. This had the desired effect and finally the committee voted to allow a casino at the CNE.
Forty charities were drawn out of a hat to be the beneficiaries of the new casino which was set up in a room at the Exhibition Stadium. In 1992 six permanent casinos were opened up in Ontario amongst very mixed feelings. Today the CNE casino is a given, and a very popular part of the National Exhibition.
CNE Casino Today
The CNE Casino today is such an integral part of the whole exhibition that it has been touted as one of the main things keeping the exhibition open. Without it the whole thing would have to rely quite heavily on tax payer’s money. The casino is open all night and afternoon, from 12pm to 6am and welcomes everyone. The stakes in casino are not high. There is no high rollers area either. The CNE casino strives to let everyone get a taste of the excitement of table games or slots.
A licensed patio is open just off the casino floor where you can buy alcoholic drinks and drink them. No alcohol is served on the casino floor itself. Food is standard midway fare and can be bought from concession stands throughout the huge warehouse like space. Attracting a wide crowd, from youngsters who wish to try their hand at Texas Hold Em to older folks who enjoy a bit of bingo, the casino is meant to be primarily fun. This is not the place that you are going to get rich. Attendance at the casino on any given day ranges from 1500 to 3000 patrons; it’s quite discreet and not heavily advertised. Feelings are still mixed about the CNE Casino, even though there are now permanent casino’s built in various parts of Ontario. Thus the CNE casino remains small scale, and quietly opens its doors a few weeks before the actual National Exhibition starts with little to no pomp and circumstance.