NORTH BAY -- Construction on North Bay's casino has been delayed thanks to the pandemic and officials with Gateway Casinos say it won't start anytime soon.

Crews have been off-site for the past several weeks and it's not known when they'll return to finish their work.

"We're in nine weeks now without any revenue at all and we're operating in the red," said Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd. spokesman Rob Mitchell in a phone interview.

"It's very difficult."

Gateway Casino's first objective is to re-open its 12 existing casino sites across the province before resuming development.

"Everything right now is about getting our employees back on the job site and re-opening," said Mitchell.

However, the crown corporation is still committed to getting the casino built and opened at a later date.

As to when that date will be, that's not known. Originally it was slated to open sometime in the spring.

"Fortunately we're in a position in North Bay where most of the important structural construction has been done," said Mitchell.

"We've poured the floor and closed the site."

North Bay city councillor Mark King, who has been against the casino project since the beginning, now sees its function as crucial for the city when it eventually does open.

"The casino money becomes very, very important to backstop the city's budget," said King.

"We have a number of capital projects coming up and we also have a number issues surrounding operational funding."

Mitchell says even when it does open; revenue will likely be lower because of new health restrictions in place.