If you're a downtown Halifax worker or shopper, don't bet on getting cheap daily parking at Casino Nova Scotia's parkade after April 1.
The casino is changing its parking hours. The parkade will open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 4 a.m. on weekdays, staying open 24 hours on the weekend, executive director Chris Roberts said.
There will be no more overnight parking on weekdays, either.
"In the past four or five months, we've really found that on most weekdays our parking garage is completely filled before we open for business at 10 a.m. in the morning and so that is obviously a challenge for our guests," he said Wednesday.
"For many local businesses and office towers in the area, it — the Casino Nova Scotia lot — has really become a really inexpensive or effectively a free place to park."
Under the current rates, customers who spend $14 on slot machines or gaming tables, or spend $20 on food and beverages, can park free for the day. The hourly rate is $3.
Cheap parking alternative
That ended up being a cheap alternative to other parking rates in the area, where the daily rate can be anywhere from $16 to $30.
"The food and beverage purchases are going to stay exactly as they are. Some of the gaming rates are going to increase. Typically, it is only an issue for use from Monday to Friday."
In order to have parking validated after April 1, customers will have to spend $60 on the slot machines or $50 on the tables such as blackjack or roulette. Players who qualify for membership in the casino's silver, gold or Prive tiers — awarded for the number of dollars spent — will get get free parking as well.
The crackdown will affect users who typically place a few bets in order to get their parking validated.
"We'll probably get some complaints," Roberts acknowledged.
The Downtown Halifax Business Commission had no comment on the changes.