Gateway Casinos Completes $1.5B Debt Restructuring

On September 16, 2010, after a very lengthy negotiation process, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited, the second largest casino operator in Canada and the largest casino operator in Western Canada (with nine casinos in British Columbia and Alberta), was restructured pursuant to a Plan of Arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act.

The balance sheet restructuring, which included a new investment of $100 million, a reduction of approximately $1 billion of debt (with no compromise of trade debt) and a replacement $500 million term loan, resulted in 98 per cent of Gateway being owned by the pre-Arrangement secured Lenders, led by The Catalyst Capital Group Inc., which is now the controlling shareholder.

A cross-Canada team from Bennett Jones LLP, led by Richard Orzy, and including Kevin Zych, Raj Sahni and Sean Zweig (restructuring); Christian Gauthier, Jeffrey Kerbel, Bryan Haynes, Bruce Hibbard and Russel Drew (corporate); Steven Lutz, Paul Mantini and Simon Grant (financing); Jane Helmstadter, John van Gent and Michael Kershaw (real estate); John Owen and Peter Jovicic (tax); Anthony Friend (litigation) and Mary Beth Currie, John Batzel and Susan Seller (labour, employment and benefits) acted as counsel to the Secured Lenders and the new ownership throughout the process. Jack Donahue of Donahue Wells and Paul Mantini of Bennett Jones acted as regulatory counsel. Irving Laskin, Mandeep Dhaliwal, Susan Do (banking & debt financing) and Edward Wilson (real estate) from Lawson Lundell LLP also served as part of the Secured Lenders' legal team.

Gateway and its shareholders were represented by a team from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP led by Bill Sirett and Steven McKoen, and including Michelle Audet and Warren Beil (corporate and restructuring); Bruce Sinclair (tax); William Kaplan, QC, Peter Rubin and Duff Harper (litigation); Eleni Kassaris and Brian Thiessen (labour and employment); David Zacks, QC, and Samantha Bretholz (financial services) and Jeffrey Merrick and Christopher Jackson (real estate).

Goodmans LLP acted as special counsel to the New First Lien Lenders for the replacement $500 million term loan facility with a team that comprised Jay Carfagnini and Brendan O'Neill (restructuring); Jeffrey Citron, Douglas Bolton and Lee Waxberg (financing) and Avi Sugar (real estate).