The finish line is in sight for Track on 2 Horse Racing and Event Centre’s gaming expansion.
Co-owner Kurt Belich was busy overseeing the installation of 50 new slot machines, with another 30 expected to arrive, adding to their existing eight VLTs at the complex at Highway 2 and Highway 12.
Belich said after all of the machines have been hooked up they will spend a few days testing them before Track on 2 is ready for gamblers by Oct. 28 at the latest, and if all goes well a day or two earlier.
There is a lot to do before then. A team of technicians from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) were already hooking up the electronic slot machines.
To make way for the new gaming centre, the Funky Monkey Kitchen and Bar was being moved upstairs. The kitchen will remain on the ground floor and dishes from a revamped menu will be sent up to servers using a dumb waiter.
It has been a long journey for the track’s owners, which includes Kurt’s wife Kyla Belich and Ross Morrison, capped off by a come-from-behind victory in May when an Alberta Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Commission panel reversed a previous rejection of Track on 2’s racing entertainment centre ambitions.
The approval allowed Track on 2 to go ahead with its plans to expand its facility to offer a wider range of gaming options. For example, slot machines allow players to transfer winnings from one machine to another and some machines will be progressive games where jackpots are shared between slot machines at multiple locations, which boosts jackpots.
“It makes it a little more exciting when you have the potential of winning a bigger jackpot,” he said.
The project got a further boost when the AGLC reconsidered a requirement that all of the gaming machines be hooked up to Telus’s fibre optic network. It was expected to cost around $400,000 and Track on 2 had agreed to pick up half the bill.
However, AGLC later agreed to allow Track on 2 to use the existing Shaw network, which will cost only $20,000 with the AGLC picking up the whole tab.
“We have to give them credit because they really changed and thought outside the box,” he said. “It saves everybody a bunch of money and time and it’s great for everyone.
“It was really good that AGLC was flexible with that and helped us. Otherwise, we would have been delayed quite some time still.”
Meanwhile, Track on 2 is coming off a successful standardbred racing season with 15 race days. Along with Elite Indian Relay Races about 10,000 came to the track this season.
The track is also seeing a lot more business as a venue for special events and company Christmas parties as the pandemic appears to be waning. Concerts and other events are also continuing with a Spooky Dueling Pianos going Oct. 29 and a comedy night a week later.