Edmundston lands gaming centre in new deal with Sonco

Sonco Gaming New Brunswick is entering into an agreement with the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation to provide gaming services in the northwestern city of Edmundston.

Grey Rock Entertainment Centre will employ 20 people during World Acadian Congress

An artist's rendition of the proposed Grey Rock Entertainment Centre that is being built in Edmundston. The centre's gaming facility will be operated by Sonco Gaming. (Madawaska Maliseet First Nation/Facebook)

Sonco Gaming New Brunswick is entering into an agreement with the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation to provide gaming services in the northwestern city of Edmundston.

Sonco Gaming, the company that operates Casino New Brunswick in Moncton, will set up the new gaming facility at the Grey Rock Entertainment Centre, which is part of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation’s $13-million Grey Rock Power Centre.

“This project will allow for gaming entertainment to be provided in a region in New Brunswick that benefits from proximity to the borders of Quebec and Maine," said Craig DeMarta, a Casino New Brunswick spokesperson. 

“We believe this facility will complement our existing casino in Moncton which services the greater Moncton market and can pull in visitors from neighbouring jurisdictions as well.” 

A Sonco statement indicated the agreement with the First Nation will begin with a smaller, temporary site designed to benefit from increased tourism traffic for events, such as the World Acadian Conference being held in the region starting on Friday.

There will be 20 jobs at the gaming facility during the World Acadian Conference and 150 full-time jobs when the centre is fully operating, according to Sonco.

The new gambling facility will require approval from the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corp.

"The two parties have agreed to a structure for the agreement, and the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corp. will support the development of new jobs and the development of regional markets outside the Casino New Brunswick area," according to a Sonco Gaming statement.

Grey Rock will have 100 electronic gambling machines to start, but it will eventually be permitted to have 200 devices, including electronic table games. There will be no live table games, according to the company.

Sonco operates Casino New Brunswick in Moncton and holds the exclusive rights for casino activity in the province. The company said in a statement it has chosen to waive its exclusive operating rights in order to partner with the Grey Rock project.

The company estimates the Grey Rock facility will generate $8 million in revenue in the first year and $1.2 million will go to the provincial government.

"This deal has been structured so that the facility can earn a fair return on investment in addition to government receiving gaming revenue," the Sonco statement said.


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