Gateway Casinos Sarnia – Racino Review

Gateway Casinos Sarnia is one of many Ontario casinos owned and operated by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited. The casino is pretty young, as it officially opened its doors on Jan. 30, 2020. It’s actually a part of the former Hiawatha Horse Park, a popular harness racing and entertainment centre in Sarnia.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. had to shut down the slots program in 2012, after almost 13 years. That was when Gateway acquired the rights to the casino, which is part of the horse park. It revived the casino floor by refreshing the slots and adding plenty of amenities.

The casino’s address is 1730 London Line in Sarnia, and it occupies a total of 53,100 square feet, with 22,033 square feet dedicated to the casino floor. Anyone interested in grabbing a bite while taking a break can visit the signature Express Bar next to the casino.

The property’s hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week. Seeing that it’s owned by Gateway, the casino in Sarnia is also part of the My Club Rewards loyalty program, which we will explain below.

Gateway Casinos Sarnia

  • Address: 1730 London Line, Sarnia, Ontario
  • Owner: Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited
  • Operator: Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited
  • Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Casino games: 150+ slots
  • Sportsbook: No
  • Poker room: No

The casino at Gateway Casinos Sarnia

The property occupies a total of 53,100 square feet, with almost half of that being home to the casino floor, which currently features 150+ slot machines.

The interior of the casino is a blend of modern design and some traditional elements. Simple yet effective decorations, including an impressive chandelier and dimmed lights, provide an ideal contrast to shiny slot machines. The entire interior offers a one-of-a-kind atmosphere with enough privacy for everyone who wants to be left alone with their slot machine.

Slot machines

Slot machines are the only games currently available in the casino. Most of them were developed and built by industry-leading providers, such as WMS, PlayAGS, Aristocrat and IGT. They offer spins from one cent to $5, and you’ll find three-reel and five-reel slots at the casino. Here are some of the popular titles that visitors can enjoy:

  • Lightning Link
  • Dancing Drums
  • Cleopatra Gold
  • Buffalo Gold
  • Tarzan
  • Quick Hits
  • Blazing 7s
  • Wheel of Fortune

Table games

Gateway Casinos Sarnia in Ontario offers just video slots at the moment. If you’re looking to play table games, you should check out some other Gateway properties in Ontario. The good news is that there are plenty of them. The nearest one is the Starlight Casino Point Edward, which offers an array of popular table games. The two casinos are just nine kilometres apart.

My Club Rewards

All Gateway properties are part of the My Club Rewards program. By playing games, members can collect points, which they can spend on free play. Moreover, club members have access to many additional benefits:

  • Exclusive promotions
  • Great dining offers
  • Access to special events
  • Complimentary hotel stays

To earn one tier point, you need to wager $10 on reel slots, $20 on video poker or $40 on e-table games. The number of points you collect during a single year will determine your membership level. Here’s a short overview of all the levels that are part of the My Club Rewards program.

  • Rewards level
  • Silver level
  • Gold level
  • Elite level
  • Ultra level

Joining the program is free, and every new member automatically reaches the basic rewards level. To progress through levels, you need to collect tier points by playing games.

For instance, to reach the silver level, you need 1,000+ TPs, and if you collect 5,000+ points, you’ll reach the gold level. The last level you can achieve just by collecting points is elite, and you need 25,000+ TPs for it. Ultra level is invite-only.

Horse racing at Hiawatha Horse Park

Hiawatha Horse Park offers a range of activities. Apart from harness racing, visitors can also try simulcast racing, a golf range and beach volleyball. The property also has space for special events such as weddings, parties and conferences.

If you’re interested in horse racing, make sure to check out the schedule of upcoming races.

The Range lets golfers practice their skills, as it features 27 fully automated tees in addition to an expansive grass tee deck.

Volleyball is also pretty popular in the area, and Hiawatha Horse Park features six courts, along with two baseball diamonds and a go-karting track.

Gateway Casinos Sarnia amenities

Hotels near Gateway Casinos Sarnia

Neither Gateway Casinos Sarnia nor Hiawatha Horse Park has places to stay on the premises. There are, however, plenty of options within walking distance.

If you’re looking for the closest places to stay, you should check out The Gables Inn, Palace Inn Motel and Fauld’s Motel Sarnia. These three are  across the street from the horse park, and the Versatile Inn Hotel Sarnia is a two-star hotel just outside the park.

If you don’t mind taking a walk or a short drive to the park and the casino, Sarnia has some additional options, such as the Chipican Motel, Hampton Inn by Hilton, Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Harbourfront Inn, Super 8 by Wyndham Sarnia and Insignia, Ascend Hotel Collection. Should you stay in one of those venues, you’ll also be very close to Starlight Casino Point Edward, which is located at 2000 Venetian Blvd., Point Edward.

Dining options

The Express Bar is the only dining venue that’s part of Gateway Casinos Sarnia. It’s one of the licensed Gateway restaurant chains, and its menu is inspired by a more popular chain — Match Eatery and Public House.

Gateway Casinos Sarnia history

The Hiawatha Horse Park & Entertainment Centre opened in 1990. It has been operating more or less successfully ever since. In 1999, the property introduced slots, but they had to be shut down in 2012, which led to an eight-year gap for casino games.

However, one of the most popular casino operators in Ontario, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited, gained the licence to offer casino games as part of the horse park. This was the official start of Gateway Casinos Sarnia. Sarnia’s City Council approved the operations after Gateway and the government reached an agreement in 2018. Gateway renovated the casino floor and made it look more modern and fresh.

It’s no secret that Gateway has been investing a lot of money into rejuvenating various gambling properties across Ontario. The company spent $26 million on improving the Starlight Casino in Point Edward, and another $36 million on Cascades Casino Chatham.

The casino provided job opportunities for 60 people right away and has been operating successfully since Jan. 30, 2020.

Is Gateway Casinos Sarnia worth a visit?

If you’re from Ontario and you’re passing through Sarnia, Gateway Casinos Sarnia is worth dropping by, especially if you want to try your luck at the one-armed bandits. Moreover, if you’re a harness racing fan, you’ll definitely love the Hiawatha Horse Park & Entertainment Centre, which the casino is part of.

Still, if you’re looking for the best possible casino experience in the area, Starlight Casino Point Edward is perhaps a better option. It’s only nine kilometres away from the Sarnia casino, but it offers a range of table games — something that’s currently missing in Sarnia.

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