Gateway said Santo passed away unexpectedly on 17 August. The operator did not release any further details at this time.
Santo took on the role of CEO at Gateway in October 2013 and also became a director in July 2017. He had announced his intention to retire at the end of 2019 but agreed to stay on to help the business during the pandemic.
During his time as CEO, Santo oversaw a significant expansion of Gateway’s network. This included the acquisition of properties from Playtime Gaming in 2015 and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in the following year.
As a result of these initiatives, Gateway’s network now features 29 gaming properties across British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.
Prior to joining Gateway, Santo held a number of other roles within the gambling industry. These executive positions included with Las Vegas Strip properties such as Bally’s Grand, now known as Horseshoe Las Vegas and in Paris. He also spent time working for Caesars Entertainment.
Santo an iconic leader – Gateway president
“Tony’s mission was to establish Gateway as Canada’s premier entertainment and gaming company,” Gateway president Tolek Strukoff said. “You could often find Tony visiting sites and staff from dawn to dusk connecting about their work, families and lives.
“Tony was an iconic leader in the US and Canada and grew Gateway from a small regional gaming company to one of the largest gaming companies in Canada. However, Tony would say himself he didn’t do it – we did it together.
“Tony was an outstanding leader, colleague and friend and he will be greatly missed. On behalf of all of Gateway’s employees, I extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Santo family.”
iGB would like to pass on its condolences to Tony’s family and friends at this difficult time.