Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

First Nation to take over Casino Nanaimo

Great Canadian’s board approved the sale to Petroglyph Development Group Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Snuneymuxw.
Petroglyph Development Group is buying Casino Nanaimo. TIMES COLONIST

Great Canadian Entertainment, which has owned Casino Nanaimo since it opened in 1986, said Monday it has agreed to sell the facility to the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

The casino company called the deal a “historic transaction for both parties.”

Great Canadian’s board of directors approved the sale to Petroglyph Development Group Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Snuneymuxw and the First Nation’s economic development arm.

The deal remains subject to closing conditions and ­approvals by regulatory authorities. No financial details were revealed.

Under the agreement, Great Canadian will provide transition services to Petroglyph for up to two years.

Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse said the First Nation looks forward to its entry into B.C.’s casino industry.

“We are committed to bringing Snuneymuxw’s local expertise to an established tradition of outstanding guest service and meaningful community contributions,” Wyse said in a statement. “Honouring the decades of work by past Snuneymuxw Chiefs and Councils, we look forward to closing the definitive agreement and realizing our collective vision with the Great Canadian team.

“This collaboration promises to bring significant benefits and substantial economic growth to our Nation and the local community.”

Casino Nanaimo in the Port Place Shopping Centre has 400 slot machines, six live table games, electronic table games and a restaurant, according to Great Canadian’s website.

Erralyn Joseph, president of Petroglyph Development Group, said in addition to the First Nation’s pending acquisition of the casino, it will announce the return of the associated land once closing is completed. The property was a part of the Snuneymuxw xwsol’lexwel village.

Petroglyph Development Group also has a majority ownership stake in the nearby 72-room Marriott Hotel, which opened in December.

Ian Simpson, Petroglyph CEO, called the casino a “significant asset that will unlock unprecedented economic potential for Snuneymuxw, paving the way for transformative growth in Snuneymuxw’s economy and the profits that PDG returns to our Nation.”

Great Canadian Entertainment owns and operates 25 ­casinos across Canada, including Elements Casino in View Royal.

[email protected]

>>> To comment on this article, write a letter to the editor: [email protected]