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Northlands Park - Memories Worth Keeping
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Klondike Days Casino

Slot machinesNorthlands Park has always been on the lookout for exciting ways to support its projects, adapting to changes as needed. When public interest began to shift away from agriculture and towards urban entertainment, the organization introduced some new features designed to entice and benefit that kind of community.

The Klondike Days Casino began when Bryce Van Dusen, who had been associated with the exhibition since 1940, suggested organizers fill a vacant corner of the newly constructed Klondike Village with blackjack tables. Van Dusen and his associates worked to cultivate an air of respectability around these games, running them for charity even before changes to the federal criminal code officially allowed other gaming institutions to follow their pioneering example.

Though the law limited wagering to $2 CDN in the casino’s inaugural year of 1967, all accounts attest to its popularity. Further federal amendments in 1969 gave the organization leave to meet an excess demand through the expansions of its in-house activities.

View of the Spinners Game RoomAdditional legal changes, brought on by an influx of new gaming license applicants, later caused the government to restrict the casino’s on-site operations to 10 days a year, when the exhibition was running. Moreover, certain groups were protesting the potential existence of such a venue near the racetrack. In response, Northlands organizers discontinued the practice of casino rentals in 1984.

In addition to running the Klondike Casino for the annual permissible period, Northlands officials also decided to provide gaming opportunities away from the grounds. With that in mind, Northlands applied for permission to operate a casino year ‘round, getting approval in 1996. The Northlands Spectrum, which had been redeveloped out of the racetrack’s grandstand two years earlier, was elected as the new home of "Spinners" games room—at one time, the largest in the country.

Spinners Game RoomThe games room is open seven days a week, and features everything from televised racing to comedy and hypnotist acts. The area is equipped with 350 slot machines, and numerous table games operated in a controlled environment. Patrons can also take advantage of opportunities for parimutuel betting.

Featured Video: Starting of Northlands Park's casino Bryce van Dusen talks about his participation in starting Northlands Park's casino. Watch Now

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