History of Hastings Racecourse Casino in Vancouver
On opening in 1889, this stadium was called the Exhibition Park Race Track, although locally it was simply known as Exhibition Park. It made history in 1939 when it became the first to make use of an electronic starting gate. This was made possible by the inventory skills of Texan Clay Pruett. The track plays host to both the British Columbia Derby and the British Columbia Oaks. These are the two most important races for 3-year olds in British Columbia – and are held in September. The first Monday in August, a public holiday, sees the annual BC Cup event take place.
It hasn’t been plain sailing for the racecourse and casino, as there was a threat of closure in the early part of the 2010s. After negotiations, Great Canadian Gaming announced that the racetrack and casino would remain open. The track made headlines in 2012 being the home track of Mexican jockey Mario Gutierrez, who won the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby, and the Preakness Stakes aboard I’ll Have Another.
Casino games at Hastings Racecourse Casino
The casino floor is a colourful and lively space which offers top slot games that cater to players with both big and small bankrolls. The centrepiece of the casino is the range of B.C. Gold games, where players can win one of four progressive jackpots. These province-wide prizes are topped by the ‘Gold’ jackpot. This starts at $100,000 and will always be won before it hits $200,000.
Alongside the B.C. Gold machines, you can also enjoy games such as Enchanted Kingdom and a Blake Shelton themed game. 600 slots and electronic games makes this a mid-sized casino compared to others in Canada. There are enough choices to include classics, old style mechanical slots and video poker consoles – alongside the latest releases. You will find games from all the major providers including IGT, Scientific Games and Aristocrat.
Fortune Cup is an entertaining horse racing game featuring a mechanical track – the only horse racing e-table in the whole of British Columbia. This is big enough to draw a crowd, with everyone cheering on their plastic horse as the finishing line approaches.
There are no table games and no poker room at this casino.
Horse racing betting at Hastings Racecourse, BC
In addition to betting on the live action at the racecourse, you can bet via simulcast on live action from Canada, the US and selected international races. All betting is via parimutuel pools. This allows you to bet on single horses, or combinations of horses to finish in a specific order.
Here is a summary of some of the most popular wagers you can place at the Hastings Racecourse:
- Win: The most straightforward wager, if your horse comes first, you get paid.
- Place: Your bet will win if your selection finishes either first or second.
- Show: Your bet win if your selection finishes first, second or third.
- Exacta: Choose the first and second place finishers in a race.
- Triactor: Choose the first, second and third place finishers to win the bet.
- Superfecta: Choose the first, second, third and fourth place finishers to win a big prize.
The Exacta, Triactor and Superfecta wagers are known as ‘Exotic’ bets. They offer the largest prizes, especially if there is an unexpected (long-shot) winner. The top prize for a successful Superfecta can run into thousands of dollars. You can ‘box’ these bets, adding extra stakes to pick horses to fill 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in any order.
The racetrack is open for live thoroughbred racing every weekend from April to November, Friday nights from June to September and year-round for simulcast racing
Encore Rewards loyalty program
When you head into the casino, it pays to sign up to the Encore Rewards scheme. You get a player’s card, which tracks your play, along with $10 in free slot play. Members earn 1 loyalty point for every $1 they play on the slots, as well as a point for every dollar you spend at participating restaurants. Once you reach 2,000 points, you can then redeem them for $10 worth of free slot play.
The more points you earn, the higher up the scheme you move. The tiers start at single diamond, moving through double diamond, triple diamond, and elite level. Bonuses you can receive as part of the plan include:
- A free birthday gift – all levels.
- Personalised offers – all levels.
- Members only contest entries – all levels.
- Restaurant and lounge discounts – all levels.
- Bonus point and status point accelerators – levels double diamond and up.
- Exclusive upgrade package – elite level.
There are regular and seasonal promotions at the Hastings Racetrack. Examples include the ‘Holiday Gift Away’ promotion. Leading up to Christmas there is a giveaway of up to $1,000 every Friday. There are also promotions based around the action on the track. The ‘Fan Appreciation Day’ at the track offers the chance to win an Ultimate sports package and food and beverage specials, where hot dogs, pop and chip bags come at bargain prices.
Sign up for the ‘Hastings Insider Club’ for the latest on promotions and bonuses.
Hastings Racecourse Casino restaurants and dining
There are three venues at the racetrack where you can enjoy food and drink. Here is a look at each:
- Jerome’s: Jerome’s is open at 9 a.m. through Wednesday to Sunday. The restaurant is open until 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday. A look at the menu shows a full range of breakfasts, including omelettes, breakfast sandwiches and coffee. Starters include chicken wings, pork bites and the signature Hastings Salad. Mains include chicken tenders and fries, a curry bowl, and a fettuccine Bolognese. The Burgers and More section of the menu features the deluxe burger, the crispy chipotle chicken burger, and the Philly Cheese Steak. Jerome’s is located just off the race book with pub style seating and broadcasts live horse racing on the many simulcast screens.
- Eclipse Lounge: This indoor lounge features full entertainment facilities, a large projector screen, 15 flat panel television monitors and a fully outfitted stage. Opening times vary throughout the week, with food service generally available most of the day. The Eclipse Lounge can also be booked for private events and group rentals.
- George Royal Room: This private setting is named after the Canadian thoroughbred and hall of fame inductee George Royal. The setting is perfect for seminars, cocktail receptions, and intimate dinners. On live racing days, the room is in operation from 11 a.m. until the time of the last race. The venue has capacity for 200 seated guests or 250 guests at a reception.
Entertainment and events at Hastings Racecourse Casino
Entertainment takes place at the racecourse in the Eclipse Lounge, usually at the weekends.
At the venue you will find a mix of tribute acts, comedians, and acclaimed local artists. You can also enjoy dancing, with salsa sessions a regular event.
In summary – How does Hastings Racecourse and Casino compare?
If you want to enjoy the twin attractions of top-class horse racing and the best in slot gaming, Hastings Racecourse and Casino is an ideal location in British Columbia. You can be part of the thrill of live racing from April through to November, with simulcast racing throughout the rest of the year to keep you entertained. The slot floor offers a huge choice of games – with denominations starting at 1c per line. There are plenty of jackpots, including the regional BC Gold progressives. Head into Jerome’s, the Eclipse Lounge or the George Royal Room for food and drink and sign up to the loyalty scheme to earn points as you eat, drink or play.