A total of 600 casino slot machines are available to racing patrons just steps from the Hastings Racecourse tarmac with numerous food and beverage options available.
Since the introduction a few years ago of Friday Night Live racing, Hastings Racecourse and Casino has successfully managed to attract a younger demographic to complement the ‘old guard’ of regulars. Friday Night Live racing cards throughout the month of August each year have become an entertainment destination for the 19-to-35 crowd that enjoys live bands, discounts on food and beverages and wandering wagering ambassadors who teach them horseracing’s betting process.
“The casino obviously benefits from their presence at the track,” MacDonald says. “Some of our new customers have told me that Hastings is the place to be and the place to be seen on Friday nights.”
A total of 150 slots began operating at the site in November 2007. An additional 450 slots were added the following August.
Adds community value
Each year Hastings Racecourse and Casino contributes to a Community Benefits Program whereby several charitable groups and non-profit organizations are given the opportunity to raise funds on a live racing day.
The successful participating groups that submit applications at an annual January meeting are invited to their Community Day at the Track that includes a direct donation of $5,000 from Hastings Racecourse and Casino, plus exclusive use of the Marquee Tent with a further $1,500 food and beverage donation.
Additional funds are raised through 50/50 draws and silent auctions. Over the past several years organizations in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood and across Vancouver have been recognized by the Community Benefits Program.
“We’re proud to include these non-profit organizations in the Community Days at Hastings,” MacDonald says. “Each of the selected charitable groups is very deserving and we encourage them to apply each year whether they are new to the program or have been selected in the past.”
As part of the lease for the Hastings Racecourse facility from the City of Vancouver, Great Canadian Gaming Corp. committed to the construction of a $4.4-million childcare centre. It opened on April 1, 2011 for use by the residents of the immediate neighbourhood including racecourse backstretch workers and the Hastings Sunrise community. The Centre includes a mix of spaces for infants, toddlers and pre-school children. Great Canadian helps pay for the cost of the operation that equates to approximately $200,000 annually.
Also as part of the lease for the racecourse facility, Great Canadian committed to annual payments of $500,000 in greening fees to be invested in the redevelopment of the Hastings Park grounds in east Vancouver.
Through its Community Legacy Fund, Hastings Racecourse will invest $2 million over the next 20 years into the local community. In November 2007, Hastings made its first $100,000 payment to the City of Vancouver and every year invests another $100,000 into the Fund. The City manages the Fund and with community direction, uses it to provide benefits and mitigate problems in Hastings-Sunrise.
Other community projects include a grooming school and learning centre for young people seeking careers in the racing industry.
The 2015 thoroughbred racing season at Hastings runs from April 25 through to October 25. Hastings Racecourse and Casino is located in the heart of Vancouver on the Pacific National Exhibition grounds. It offers numerous dining options, private and public event facility rental opportunities, spectacular views of the famous North Shore Mountains and outstanding guest services.
About the author:
Greg Douglas is a media consultant and special events coordinator at Hastings Racecourse and Casino. He writes a sports column for the Vancouver Sun and Desert Sun in Palm Springs, CA.