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Gatineau Bars Protest Casino Development By Accepting Their Chips

By: Russell Potvin , Thurs. Dec. 11, 2014

Gatineau Bars Protest, Accepting Chips

While there are many ways to protest something that will away from established private enterprises, Gatineau bars are taking a novel approach.

The problem for bars in Gatineau, Quebec is that the Casino du Lac-Leamy is opening an an upscale dance bar which will siphon customers from their already established businesses in the downtown core. The casino's new night club, Aléa, is aiming at the 18 to 34 age demographic with big name DJs alongside all the glitz that often accompanies a new business of this type. The reasoning given for spending so much money to improve the casino is that it's sales were slumping, a trend seen in brick and mortar casinos all over North America.

As a result, bars are set to start accepting casino chips as payment both in protest of the casino's intrusion as well as drawing back customers who they say are being unfairly drawn away by the government move. Eric Gaudreault, the president of a group that represents many businesses in the old Hull downtown core, said, "I expect there will be many more to join the movement." He may very well be right once those who have not opted in to the protest move see whether it will be successful or not.

The businesses are rightfully angry in seeing what the provincial and local government are doing in this move, especially in an economic slump that has been hitting entrepreneurial operations harder than other business types. "The economy is dropping all over and the private sector is hardest hit. We suffer big losses and we don't have the provincial treasury to fall back on," Gaudreault said.