OLG President & CEO Rod Phillips In The Media

OLG wants to ensure that communities have the information they need about modernization to encourage dialogue and make informed decisions, based on facts. During the week of January 21, 2013, President and CEO Rod Phillips was invited to be a guest on two live radio talk shows and one live television talk show, to discuss Modernization and to take questions from Ontarians about key issues.

CBC’s Ontario Today, hosted by Kathleen Petty, welcomed Rod to the show on January 23, 2013 at 12:15 p.m. The discussion focused on the impact of Modernization on communities across Ontario, what new gaming facilities would mean for them and the programs that OLG creates to ensure safe and entertaining gaming facilities. Callers were able to express their views and ask questions about these issues.

Listen to the full interview. You will be redirected to CBC.ca.

Read the full transcript.

Also on January 23, radio host John Tory invited Rod Phillips to his Toronto studio to be a guest on his live CFRB1010 talk show. The discussion focused on the potential GTA-area gaming entertainment centre, a recent public opinion poll, OLG’s programs to prevent problem gambling and modernizing the lottery system. Callers were also able to call in to this show, to express their views and ask questions about these issues.

Read the full transcript.

Rod Phillips and John Tory image
John Tory and Rod Phillips

On January 25, 2013, Rod Phillips was a guest on the Stephen LeDrew show on Toronto’s CP24. This is his second appearance on LeDrew Live – he first appeared on the show with OLG Chair, Paul Godfrey to announce Modernization in March 2012. This second conversation focused on the progress that has been made in the past year and touched on the current conversations around a Toronto gaming entertainment centre.

Read the full transcript.

Rod Phillips and Stephen LeDrew Interview image
Rod Phillips and Stephen LeDrew Interview

Casino debate: What OLG would pay Toronto to host gambling is still a mystery

If a casino comes to Toronto, exactly how much money is in it for the city?

That is a central question in the heated debate over whether to bring a gambling hall to town, but it could remain unanswered until after the decision is made.

OLG chair Paul Godfrey said Friday that talks are underway with the city manager to arrive at a precise estimate of the city’s hosting fee, but he acknowledged that might not be reached before city hall is due to vote on the issue in April.

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Brantford wins casino gamble

In Brantford, casino revenues flow uphill.

Situated on the banks of the Grand River, at the bottom of a steep slope on the southern edge of downtown, the gambling hall has played a crucial role in the stunning transformation of the historic streets above.

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Letter to the Toronto Star Editor

(Re: Put casino to a vote – Toronto Star, January 25)

This week’s Ipsos-Reid poll showing 52 percent of Torontonians would vote in favour of a casino adds an interesting perspective to this discussion.

In fact, Toronto has had a popular gaming facility for over a decade. The Ipsos-Reid research notes that among Etobicoke residents, people who have lived near our Woodbine facility for 12 years, approval is even higher–57 %. In addition, since 2000, the City of Toronto has benefited from over $189 million in hosting fees from OLG Slots at Woodbine.

Other Ontario communities, like Brantford,(“How Brantford used casino dollars to save itself” Rachel Mendleson, Jan. 25)  have also been clear about the benefits that gaming facilities provide: Chris Friel, the mayor, noting that his city wouldn’t have been as dynamic as it is now.

Rod Phillips,
President and CEO, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation


McGuinty Government Signs Transition Funding Agreement with Woodbine Entertainment Group

Ontario is another step closer to a sustainable horse racing industry after reaching an agreement in principle to provide transition funding to the province’s largest provider of horse racing.

The agreement with Woodbine Entertainment Group will ensure races continue at the Woodbine and Mohawk tracks as the industry adapts to a more sustainable model. Agreements with additional race tracks are anticipated to be reached in the coming weeks.

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OLG reaches agreements in principle for leases at eight Ontario gaming sites

OLG has reached lease agreements in principle for its slots operations with eight of its site holders. This includes: 

    • Woodbine Racetrack;
    • Mohawk Racetrack;
    • Rideau Carleton Raceway;
    • Hanover Raceway;
    • Woodstock Raceway;
    • Dresden Raceway;
    • Sudbury Downs; and
    • Clinton Raceway. 

OLG has provided the site holders with a Letter of Intent, which sets out the general intentions and business arrangements, subject to approvals, between the site and OLG. On December 21, 2012, OLG announced agreements in principle with Western Fair District Raceway and Kawartha Downs Racetrack.

“We are pleased to announce that we have reached lease agreements in principle with 10 gaming sites,” said Rod Phillips, President and CEO of OLG, “We have longstanding and positive relationships with our site holders and look forward to working with them in the future.”

OLG hopes to finalize agreements with site holders by February 28, 2013.

OLG continues to engage in lease agreement discussions with its other site holders across the province and remains hopeful that a positive outcome to those discussions is near for all facilities.

Mark McEwan: casino-loving chef

The owner of flashy restaurants like Bymark and North 44 has hopped aboard the casino bandwagon. Earlier this week, Mark McEwan assembled a group of the city’s most influential chefs to discuss why putting a mega-gambling complex downtown would be good news for the food industry.

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Majority of Toronto supports building casino: poll

A majority of Torontonians favour building a casino in the city, according to a new survey that gives the yes side a “significant lead” in the contentious municipal debate.

An Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of the National Post, Global Television and Newstalk 1010 found that 52% of respondents either strongly or somewhat support a new gambling venue within its borders, compared to 42% in opposition and 6% who are not sure.

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Expanding the modernization dialogue

In 2012, OLG began the process of modernizing Ontario’s lottery and gaming industry. This included releasing Requests for Information for both lottery and gaming, and two Requests for Pre-Qualifications: one for lottery along with the first in a series of RFPQs for gaming.

Important discussions about OLG’s modernization are taking place in municipalities across Ontario and online through social media.  As 2013 begins, OLG wants to continue to be part of this important conversation and be as open and transparent about the modernization process as possible.

To help engage and inform Ontarians, OLG has launched @Modern_OLG – a Twitter account that will provide the latest updates about the modernization process. In addition, through @RodPhillipsOLG, OLG’s president and CEO, Rod Phillips will also be tweeting his thoughts on modernization, as well as on OLG’s Responsible Gambling initiatives, and other important topics.

OLG invites all Ontarians to join the conversation and follow the modernization process on Twitter.

OLG’s Responsible Gambling Program Receives Highest Accreditation

Three OLG gaming facilities and one gaming resort facility have been recognized with the RG Check accreditation – the most rigorous Responsible Gambling (RG) accreditation program in the world.

In October, three sites — OLG Casino Brantford, OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack and OLG Slots at Woodstock Raceway — achieved an RG Check accreditation. And, earlier in 2012, Caesars Windsor became the first casino resort property in the world to achieve this accreditation.

OLG is mandated by the government to design and deliver a world-class RG program. Achieving RG Check accreditation demonstrates OLG’s commitment to addressing problem gambling head on. It does this by empowering players to make informed decisions and providing training to help employees handle a range of customer needs on the gaming floor.

Awarded by the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), the RG Check accreditation is based on an RG Index that is informed by international best practices and evaluates eight core standards: corporate policies, self-exclusion, advertising and promotion, informed decision making, assisting patrons who may have problems with gambling, access to money, venue and game features, and employee training. The four sites met all of these standards, earning OLG the highly recognized accreditation.

Participating in the assessment required a large effort on the part of OLG staff at the accredited gaming sites and OLG’s broader RG team. The process involved submitting hundreds of pages of documentation, many hours of investigative interviews, and thorough inspections at each site.

“This is a significant accomplishment that couldn’t have happened without the hard work of the OLG team,” said Grant Darling, General Manager of OLG Casino Brantford. “The RG Check accreditation is a testament to the dedication of our employees and their commitment to upholding OLG’s high standards when it comes to Responsible Gambling.”   

OLG will continue to work towards achieving the RG Check accreditation at each of its sites. Maintaining OLG’s high quality RG program is critical to OLG’s modernization. All future qualified service providers will be required to adhere to rigorous external standards like the RG Check and the regulations of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.


Casino would help Toronto

Paul Godfrey realizes not everyone is a gambler, but neither is everyone a fan of art, opera or sports. That doesn’t mean galleries, theatres and stadiums shouldn’t exist, he told a business crowd at The National Club Tuesday morning.

“I don’t believe you should say no to a casino just because you yourself are opposed to gambling,” said the chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and president and CEO of Postmedia, which owns the National Post.

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OLG and Responsible Gambling In Toronto

On November 9, 2012, Toronto Public Health released a technical report, The Health Impacts of Gambling Expansion in Toronto, about the health-related impacts of gambling and the prevalence of problem gambling in the Greater Toronto Area.  The report also offered recommendations to mitigate risks associated with gambling. Experts from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario collaborated with Toronto Public Health staff to review and consider the implications of opening a casino in Toronto.

Currently, OLG has a number of responsible gambling (RG) initiatives in place including RG communications, Self-Exclusion programs supported by Responsible Gaming Resource Centres (RGRCs), data analytics, and mandatory employee RG training. OLG is continually improving its RG program and is currently working on new RG player and public education, enhanced employee training including the identification of “red-flag” behaviours, and a review of gambling venues’ hours of operation.

For more information, please see OLG and Responsible Gambling in Toronto.

Toronto begins public consultations

Throughout the month of January, the City of Toronto wants to hear what its residents think about the possibility of a new gaming facility in the city.

The city has launched a consultation process to gather input, including the public’s views and opinions on a new facility generally, on possible locations for a casino, and what they would like Council to consider when making a decision.

There will be five public consultation sessions that Torontonians can attend or they can also provide feedback online.

To find out more about Toronto’s consultation process, visit www.toronto.ca/casinoconsultation.

OLG Estimates $50–$100 Million in Hosting Fees for a Downtown Casino

The City of Toronto has just launched its online consultation about the prospect of opening a casino in Toronto. As part of that public consultation process, the City has put out a short primer on the various casino options.

On page six of that primer, a new and important number: $50–$100 million. That’s how much the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation now estimates the City of Toronto would make in annual hosting fees, if we decided to allow an “integrated entertainment complex” at Exhibition Place, the Port Lands, or in the convention centre area.

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A real discussion on casinos is needed

As local media reports have indicated, recent decisions from Queen’s Park have provided renewed interest across Ontario related to gaming facilities.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the provincial agency responsible for the regulation of gaming, has initiated a new modernization plan aimed at maximizing revenue for the provincial government by placing new facilities in areas of greatest customer demand.

The plan also calls for enhanced benefits for host communities such as more quality jobs, private sector investment and tourism opportunities.

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