Lori Sullivan

Lori Sullivan oversees enterprise business operations and is responsible for the delivery all products and services, and upholding OLG’s integrity of gaming and responsible gambling standards. She previously served as OLG’s Senior Vice President, Governance, Legal and Compliance, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.

As an experienced business and legal executive, Lori has negotiated, structured and managed complex transactions on behalf of public, private and government entities. For 14 years, she practiced commercial law at Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg LLP, where she was a Partner.

Lori holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) from Wilfred Laurier University. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario and Canadian Bar Associations.

David Pridmore

David Pridmore is leading the organization’s increased focus on agility, innovation and partnerships. He is directly responsible for the application of data and analytics across the organization, strategy development, corporate strategic planning and the continued focus on creating new strategic partnerships that will grow the business in the future. In this role, David is responsible for ensuring that OLG is aligned to deliver on the goals and objectives outlined in the organization’s strategic plan.

With more than 15 years of experience, David is an accomplished finance and strategy executive with significant expertise in strategy development, financial assessment and commercial transactions. He previously held multiple roles at Shoppers Drug Mart and OLG where he was responsible for infrastructure development, financial relationship management and the development of the Land-based Gaming modernization strategy.

David holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Business Administration from McMaster University.

Brian Gill

Brian Gill oversees all aspects of OLG’s business information management and the use of technology to ensure trustworthy interactions between OLG and the public, business partners, government, external service providers and other external stakeholders.

Brian, who brings more than 15 years of executive and CIO leadership experience to OLG, has spearheaded change initiatives that have transformed organizations through business and technology re-engineering. Before joining OLG, Brian served as Chief Technology Officer for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Administration Corporation. Previous roles included Head of Global Technology Services for Blackberry and Chief Information Officer for the Canadian Depository for Securities.

Brian holds a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from the University of Waterloo.

Alexandra Aguzzi

Alexandra Aguzzi provides executive leadership for strategic communications, stakeholder management, government relations, municipal engagement and social responsibility.

Since joining OLG in 2007, she has managed OLG’s relationship with the Ontario government, establishing the Government Relations department to lead this work. Her role has since expanded to include public affairs, internal and external communications, issues management, media relations, French language services and social responsibility.

Before joining OLG, Alexandra spent 17 years working in the Ontario government including the Ministry of Finance. Alexandra received an Amethyst for supporting negotiations with Ontario First Nations (2008). Alexandra also served as Chief of Staff for two Deputy Ministers and led a team responsible for oversight of the LCBO, AGCO and the Ontario Racing Commission.

Alexandra holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto.

Steve Williams

Steve Williams is a former Chief of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, the largest First Nations community in Canada. He continues his success in business as the current president of Grand River Enterprises International, the largest First Nations’ owned tobacco company in the world.

Mr. Williams is a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario First Nations Limited Partnership.

Mr. Williams has contributed more than 30 years of volunteer service to national and regional First Nations boards and commissions, including local charitable and non-profit organizations in his home community, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

Lori O’Neill

Lori O’Neill is an independent financial and governance consultant to several growth companies. Ms. O’Neill serves on the board of Constellation Software Inc., Sierra Wireless Inc., University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Ashbury College. Ms. O’Neill is an FPCA, FCA with over 24 years of experience in a global accounting firm.

Ms. O’Neill previously served on the board of a federal Crown corporation, an SEC-registrant technology company, a number of privately held technology companies, Startup Canada and the Executive Committee of the Ottawa Chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Ms. O’Neill holds an ICD.D designation, a U.S. CPA designation and a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University.

OLG re-issues RFPQ for Ottawa Area Gaming Bundle

OLG has re-issued a Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) for the Ottawa Area Gaming Bundle on the procurement website, MERXTM.

OLG originally issued an RFPQ for the Ottawa Area Gaming Bundle in November 2012. The RFPQ was cancelled in December 2015 because OLG and the landlord were not able to finalize a lease for the one gaming site in the bundle—OLG Slots at Rideau Carleton Raceway. A finalized lease for the gaming site is required for OLG to proceed with the procurement process to select a service provider for the bundle, given that relocation is not a viable option at this time. OLG and the landlord have now finalized a lease for the site and OLG is re-issuing the RFPQ for the bundle.

Re-issuing the RFPQ will enable OLG to pre-qualify the potential proponents that are eligible to receive the Request for Proposals (RFP) documents. RFPQ applicants are required to provide information on their experience in areas such as gaming and property development.

From the RFP submissions, OLG will select one service provider to run certain day-to-day operations of the gaming site at Rideau Carleton Raceway.

The RFPQ will close on August 4, 2016 and OLG will begin the RFP process for the Ottawa Area Gaming Bundle in the coming months.

Read the full announcement.

OLG Launches THE CANADIAN TRIPLE CROWN INSTANT game

OLG is continuing to integrate horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy by launching THE CANADIAN TRIPLE CROWN INSTANT game, available now at lottery retailers across the province.

The INSTANT game costs $5 and features seven top prizes of $100,000. It also includes a second chance contest to win one of 10 VIP prize packages to the 2017 Queen’s Plate.

“The launch of the INSTANT game will help build excitement around the three premier thoroughbred races in the Canadian Triple Crown: the Queen’s Plate, the Prince of Wales Stakes and the Breeders’ Stakes,” said Cal Bricker, Senior Vice President, Horse Racing. “THE CANADIAN TRIPLE CROWN INSTANT game is the latest horse-themed product launched by OLG and the first INSTANT game of its kind available to customers.”

Launching the INSTANT game will help increase public awareness of the industry while further demonstrating OLG’s support for horse racing in Ontario.

OLG is continuing to work in partnership with the horse racing industry and Ontario government to help build a more sustainable future for the industry. Horse racing is vital to rural communities. The industry provides jobs for thousands of people across the province and is an important part of Ontario’s rich heritage.

New Gaming Site Coming to Belleville

OLG and the Government of Ontario have approved Ontario Gaming East Limited Partnership, the service provider for the East Gaming Bundle, to begin construction on a new gaming site in the City of Belleville. OGELP submitted a business case for the new site, which received final approval from the Minister of Finance on December 11, 2015. Branded as Shorelines Casino Belleville, the new gaming site is expected to be open to the public in spring 2017. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on the new site at 380 Bell Boulevard in Belleville on April 27, 2016.

LABOUR DISPUTE AT THE SLOTS AT RIDEAU CARLETON RACEWAY

TORONTO, ON – The union representing gaming floor employees at the Slots at Rideau Carleton Raceway has been in a labour dispute with OLG since December 16, 2015, more than 120 days ago.

On April 14, 2016, OLG provided our best and final offer to gambling floor employees to vote on in an attempt to resolve the issues in dispute and return the employees to work.  The gaming floor employees rejected the offer.

OLG offered wage increases which are fair and reasonable and consistent with the Government’s directives on collective bargaining.

The union demanded almost 20% in increases over 5 years.

OLG provides its employees with competitive wages and benefits.  The average wage rate for the bargaining unit at the Slots at Rideau is $17.32, with some employees eligible to receive tips.

In addition, employees are provided with comprehensive health, dental and life insurance coverage with no deductibles and which includes such items as eye glasses, massage therapy and physiotherapy.

OLG reiterated that employees will remain in their current pension plan until a new service provider begins to operate the Slots at Rideau Carleton Raceway on OLG’s behalf.

To ensure that OLG employees continue to have a pension plan after they transfer to the service provider, the new service provider will be contractually required to provide a registered pension plan for employees, from the first day they take over operation of the Slots at Rideau Carleton Raceway.

OLG is currently deciding how it will proceed given this outcome.  In the meantime, the Slots at Rideau Carleton Raceway will remain open to our customers.

OLG is the Ontario government agency that delivers gaming entertainment in a socially responsible manner. OLG conducts and manages gaming facilities, the sale of province-wide lottery games, PlayOLG Internet gaming, the delivery of bingo and other electronic gaming products at Charitable Gaming Centres and is leading the integration of horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy. Since 1975, OLG has provided nearly $42 billion to the Province and the people of Ontario. These payments to the province support the operation of hospitals, amateur sport through the Quest for Gold program, local and provincial charities and problem gambling prevention, treatment and research.

All for Here – 100 per cent of OLG’s proceeds are invested in Ontario
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OLG Administers Funding for Horse Racing Industry

Effective today, OLG is taking over administration of the Transfer Payment Agreements (TPAs) that the Ontario government has with racetracks in the province. TPAs support the industry by providing funding for purses and operational costs at tracks that run live racing.

The ongoing collaboration between the Ontario government, OLG and the industry is helping to build the foundation for proactive, industry-led success. By taking over administration of the TPAs, OLG will distribute approximately $93 million of government funding to racetracks in Ontario to support close to 950 race dates in 2016-17.

In the 2016 Ontario Budget, the government announced a two-year extension to support for the horse racing industry, formerly known as the Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program. The extension will provide funding that is consistent with current levels until March 2021, giving the industry confidence to make investments and business decisions for the coming years.

OLG is continuing to work with the industry to provide options to the Ontario government on a long-term funding arrangement.

OLG is also launching a new page on OLG.ca that contains information and updates on horse racing integration. The new horse racing line of business at OLG is providing additional resources to keep integration moving forward in partnership with the industry and government.

Horse racing is vital to rural communities. The industry provides jobs for thousands of people across the province and is an important part of Ontario’s heritage.

OLG to include Niagara Casinos in modernization

OLG intends to add the two Niagara Casinos—Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara—to its modernization procurement process.

Including the Niagara Casinos in the procurement process will ensure greater consistency in Ontario’s gaming market and will maximize the benefit of modernization for the people and Province of Ontario.

In order to include the two Niagara Casinos in modernization, OLG has notified its operator— Falls Management Group LP, acting through its general partner, Falls Management Company (collectively FMC)—that OLG will not extend the current operating agreement beyond its initial term, which ends on June 10, 2019. This is an option OLG has under the current agreement.

OLG estimates it will take up to three years to procure a service provider for the Niagara Gaming Bundle and enter into a new operating agreement. OLG is announcing its intention to include the Niagara Casinos in modernization now to ensure the selection of a service provider aligns with the end of the initial term of the current operating agreement with FMC.

OLG expects to release a Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) for the Niagara Gaming Bundle in summer 2016.

Read the full announcement.

OLG issues RFP for GTA Gaming Bundle

OLG is continuing its procurement process for land-based gaming by issuing Request for Proposal (RFP) documents to pre-qualified proponents selected to bid on the GTA Gaming Bundle.

The RFP will enable OLG to select one service provider to run certain day-to-day gaming operations for the two gaming sites in the Gaming Bundle—OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack and OLG Slots at Ajax Downs. In addition, OLG continues to have discussions with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, regarding the possible inclusion of the Great Blue Heron Casino within the GTA Gaming Bundle. Some draft agreements have been developed and will be put forward for required approvals by the Provincial government, the OLG Board of Directors and others as necessary. If and when applicable, further details will be provided by OLG to proponents during the RFP process.

The GTA RFP follows the selection of a service provider for the East Gaming Bundle and release of RFPs for the North and Southwest Gaming Bundles.

To OLG, the integrity of the procurement process is of the utmost importance. Public procurements involve information of a commercially sensitive nature. As a result, details of the RFP documents and names of pre-qualified proponents will not be released by OLG while the process is ongoing. Additionally, there will be no further communication by OLG about the RFP for this bundle until the selected service provider is announced. OLG expects to announce the successful service provider in late summer 2017.

Read the full announcement.

OLG Launches Horse-Themed Slots Game On PlayOLG.ca

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is launching Fire Horse, an exciting new horse-themed product on PlayOLG.ca. The online slots game is the first of its kind on a new section of the website that is dedicated to horse racing. It includes information about the industry as well as a link to bet on horse racing online.

“Launching Fire Horse is the latest step OLG is taking in partnership with the horse racing industry and Ontario government to integrate horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy,” said Cal Bricker, OLG’s Senior Vice President of Horse Racing. “It represents progress on integration by using a new gaming platform to increase awareness of the industry while further demonstrating OLG’s support for horse racing in Ontario.”

Fire Horse is available to people who have registered with OLG’s online gaming website, PlayOLG.ca. It was developed in consultation with the horse racing industry and is the first horse-themed product released by OLG. Additional horse-themed products are expected to be released in the future.

Horse racing is vital to rural communities. The industry provides jobs for thousands of people across the province and is an important part of Ontario’s rich heritage. By integrating horse racing into gaming, OLG is helping to create a sustainable industry in the province for generations to come.

OLG issues RFPs for North and Southwest Gaming Bundles

OLG is continuing its procurement process for land-based gaming by issuing Request for Proposal (RFP) documents to pre-qualified proponents selected to bid on the North and Southwest Gaming Bundles.

The RFPs will enable OLG to select a service provider to run certain day-to-day gaming operations for each Gaming Bundle.

The North Gaming Bundle has five gaming zones. Three gaming zones are currently served by OLG gaming sites: OLG Casino Thunder Bay, OLG Slots at Sudbury Downs and OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie. There is the potential for a new gaming site in each of the other two zones, one in North Bay and one in the Kenora area.

The Southwest Gaming Bundle has six gaming zones, each currently served by an OLG gaming facility:

  • OLG Slots at Western Fair District
  • OLG Slots at Clinton Raceway
  • OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway
  • OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway
  • OLG Slots at Woodstock Raceway
  • OLG Casino Point Edward

To OLG, the integrity of the procurement process is of the utmost importance. Public procurements involve information of a commercially sensitive nature. As a result, details of the RFP documents and names of pre-qualified proponents will not be released while the process is ongoing. Additionally, there will be no further communication about the RFPs for these bundles until service providers are announced.

OLG expects to announce the successful service providers in early 2017.

Read the full announcement.

 

City gets $1.23 M from OLG

The city has received a $1.23-million second-quarter payment for hosting the Brantford casino.

The payment from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. covers the city’s share of slot machine gaming revenue for the period of July to September.

Read more

Working Toward a Sustainable Future for the Horse Racing Industry

Over the past eight months, the government, OLG and OHRIA have been working closely on key elements of horse racing integration.

All parties are engaged in a dialogue with the industry on areas of mutual interest. Through these discussions, a great deal has been accomplished. OLG meets regularly with the industry, is defining how horse racing fits into the modernization framework and is laying a foundation for the industry’s success.

OLG has a new horse racing division, led by a new Senior Vice President. It is developing a co-branding marketing strategy and preparing to launch horse-themed products through its Lottery and Internet business channels. OLG has also signed leases with almost all racetracks in Ontario that host its gaming sites.

In addition, the regulatory merger of the Ontario Racing Commission and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is moving forward and the government’s five-year Horse Racing Partnership Plan continues to support the industry.

The next area of focus is developing a financial model to provide a long-term funding framework. This includes exploring options that help create economic confidence in a transparent and accountable way, beyond 2019.

The government has asked OLG to provide recommendations on this topic by the end of the year. Cal Bricker, OLG’s Senior Vice President of Horse Racing, is leading a collaborative discussion with the industry on this subject.

Horse racing is vital to Ontario’s rural communities and is an important part of our province’s rich heritage. The ongoing collaboration between OLG, the horse racing industry and the Ontario government will help create a sustainable industry in the province for generations to come.

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Prize Claim with a Ticket:

If you have a winning ticket, there are many ways to claim your prize. Click How to Claim Prizes for all the details.

What to do if a Customer has Lost a Winning Lottery Ticket

OLG’s new Data Analysis and Retrieval Technology (DART) system is helping to ensure that all prizes are claimed and paid to the right person.

DART has the ability to scan billions of lottery transactions in mere seconds. This helps us find and fight potential fraud. But it also allows OLG to use historic information to discern whether there are any playing “patterns” that would enable OLG to help identify the winner of an unclaimed prize.

OLG aims to get the right prize to the right person, each time and every time. And ensuring the life of a winning ticket reaches a fulfilling end.

Ticketless Prize Claims

If you believe you have a claim on a lottery prize – but you do not have your ticket – OLG may be able to use DART to verify your claim. How? The DART system is capable of creating a unique historical profile for each of the billions of tickets sold to OLG’s customers.

Combining the power of DART with information provided by the customer, OLG may be able to prove your claim is legitimate.

For further information, please call 1-800-387-0098 (Press option #3).

September 24, 2015 – Unauthorized Telephone Solicitation

OLG advises Winner’s Circle Reward members of an unauthorized telephone solicitation that claims to provide additional WCR points. This solicitation instructs people to call a phone number for more information where they are then asked for personal credit card information.

OLG is not conducting any such solicitation and any WCR members receiving such a call should report the incident to police by calling the CANADIAN ANTI-FRAUD CENTRE (formerly known as PHONEBUSTERS) at 1-888-495-8501 or online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca

Winner’s Circle Rewards would never ask for credit card information over the phone and the winning member would have to visit one of our 22 Gaming properties in person to claim a prize. Also, our staff always identifies themselves as calling from the Winner’s Circle Rewards program and the specific Gaming site.

Under our Privacy Policy, OLG does not sell personal information it collects from customers and fully complies with provincial privacy protection.

Building Strong Relationships to Support Horse Racing Integration

OLG and the horse racing industry continue to work together to integrate horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy. For many months, work has been underway to build strong relationships with the industry and lay the foundation for success.

Building on the momentum developed so far, Cal Bricker, OLG’s new Senior Vice President of Horse Racing met with Sue Leslie, President of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) on Monday, August 31. The two executives spent an hour sharing information and discussing the importance of moving integration forward.

“The perspective, insight and knowledge of the industry that Sue has will be invaluable to me in this role,” Bricker said. “I’m looking forward to learning about the strengths and unique characteristics of the Ontario horse racing industry by visiting communities across the province and meeting as many industry members as possible.”

While the meeting served as an introduction for the two executives, focus quickly shifted to the need for ongoing progress on integration and communications to the industry.

“Cal has sharp intuition and significant leadership experience working in industries that are supported by membership-based organizations like OHRIA,” Leslie said. “I am confident that OLG’s President and CEO, Stephen Rigby, has hired an executive who is open to collaborating with the industry to help set us on a path for long-term success. I look forward to working closely with him.”

Bricker and Leslie are both members of the Industry Executive Committee, a group of OLG and industry executives who meet bi-weekly to provide decisive leadership and guidance to the many areas involved in integration. The committee is chaired by Stephen Rigby and includes Sue Leslie, Cal Bricker, Michael Keegan (OLG), Jean Major (AGCO), John Snobelen (Ontario Horse Racing), Jim Lawson (Woodbine Entertainment Group) and Hugh Mitchell (Western Fair District – a member of the Ontario Standardbred Alliance). The Industry Executive Committee supports the work of the Government of Ontario and its Crown agencies to help develop the industry and grow the horse racing customer base.

Bricker, who began his new role at OLG on September 1, will spend his first weeks with the organization learning about OLG’s involvement with the horse racing industry and the progress that is being made on integration.

Bricker is making it a priority to visit racetracks. He attended the OLG-sponsored Canadian Millions Sales Stakes Day at Woodbine Racetrack on September 2, along with Stephen Rigby and Philip Olsson, Chair of OLG’s Board of Directors. OLG’s sponsorship and attendance at industry events is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to sustainable horse racing in the province.

In the coming weeks, Bricker will begin visiting tracks across the province to see firsthand the critical role they play in support of thriving communities across Ontario.

New company to take over Kawartha Downs, build new casino

The company chosen to take over the gambling at Kawartha Downs is willing to spend nearly $50 million to renovating and developing a casino in the Peterborough area, but it’s too early for that company to say where the facility will go.

In the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s plan to hand over the operation of gaming sites to private companies, Ontario Gaming East LP is the first to be announced as a successful bidder. The company is signing off on a deal to operate gambling sites in the Peterborough area, as well as in the Kingston and Belleville areas.

The largest shareholder in that partnership is the British Columbia-based Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which already operates a number of gambling facilities in Western and Eastern Canada.

The deal cost Ontario Gaming East LP about $50 million — $37.4 million for the purchase price and $13 million to cover working capital.

Chuck Keeling, vice president of stakeholder relations and responsible gaming for Great Canadian Gaming, says the deal will become official and the operation of gambling at Kawartha Downs will change hands in early 2016.

The company is aiming to have a new, or expanded facility ready to open by the fall of 2017.

The City of Peterborough and the Township of Cavan Monaghan have each expressed interest in hosting a casino. Host municipalities receive a portion of gambling revenue, which has provided the Township with nearly $50 million in non-tax gaming revenue since the slots opened at the racetrack.

In an effort to streamline the process for the incoming casino operator, previous Peterborough city councillors pre-selected three potential areas for a new gambling facility, including in the east end on vacant land at the city’s edge and near The Parkway and Highway 115 connection in the city’s south end.

Kawartha Slots has been very good to Cavan Monaghan Township – to the tune of $47.5 million

Cavan Monaghan Township council has previously suggested the facility at Kawartha Downs should stay where it is and could be expanded to include table games and more slot machines.

“We are honoured and thrilled to have been chosen,” Mr. Keeling says of the OLG’s decision to enter into a partnership. “In terms of greater details about the future…those are conversations and discussions we will have at the municipal level and with the OLG.”

Currently, there are 454 slot machines at Kawartha Downs. Under the OLG’s guidelines, about 150 more could be added at that facility or in a newly-built casino. The OLG will also permit up to 180 table positions in a Peterborough-area casino, which works out to about 30 live table games.

Mr. Keeling says Great Canadian Gaming has experience operating small-scale and large-scale casinos including the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia, which boasts a 1,000-seat theatre, a hotel and restaurants.

Mr. Keeling says the facility is much larger than what the company is planning for the Peterborough area, although complimentary features for a new casino aren’t off the table.

“Anything that drives traffic is good for our business,” he says.

The transition agreement Ontario Gaming East LP will sign with the OLG lays out customary closing conditions that will need to be satisfied in order for the 20-year operating deal go ahead.

This includes a requirement for the service provider to retain employees for a period of no less than 12 months in their current position and geographic location and to provide eligible employees with benefits and a registered pension plan.

OLG has hired Cal Bricker as the new Senior Vice President of Horse Racing

OLG has hired Cal Bricker as the new Senior Vice President of Horse Racing.

Building on the work that has been underway over the past several months, Mr. Bricker will provide dedicated leadership as OLG continues to integrate horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy.

He will strengthen OLG’s efforts to support industry self-governance by focusing on the ongoing development of strong working partnerships with the horse racing industry, government and regulatory bodies.

Mr. Bricker has experience working in complex business environments that generate revenue while protecting the public interest. His background in building partnerships among diverse stakeholders with multiple interests will serve OLG well as we work to create the conditions for sustainable horse racing industry in Ontario.

Hiring a Senior Vice President of Horse Racing reflects the priority OLG is placing on horse racing integration as modernization continues to move forward. Mr. Bricker’s first day at OLG will be September 1, 2015.

Spectacular Grand Finale of the Pan Am Path Art Relay at Rouge Beach Features Internationally – Acclaimed First Nations Artists

After 14 events across the city featuring hundreds of performers and performers and thousands of spectators, the Pan Am Path Art Relay is coming to an end with a spectacular grand finale.

Join Friends of the Pan Am Path for Maadaadizi -Summer Journeys, the grand finale of the Pan Am Path Art Relay at the start of the First Nations Trail. At Maadaadizi, meaning “begin a journey” in Ojibwe, be inspired by Indigenous art, featuring a sunset performance of “The Great Chief Star” by internationally-acclaimed artists Jason Baerg, Erin Fortier, J-S Gauthier, Michael Red, Santee Smith and Tanya Tagaq.

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OLG delivers $1.3M cheque to city

The third-quarter cheque from OLG Casino Brantford’s profits has come in, adding just over $1.3 million to the city’s coffers.

The OLG has sent the city $1.307,627, which represents the municipality’s share of non-tax gaming revenue. The city receives the money for hosting an OLG casino.

Read more

156th Annual Queen’s Plate

July is one of the most exciting times of the year for horse racing in Ontario. This year, summer kicks off in style with the 156th annual Queen’s Plate, taking place on July 5 at Woodbine Racetrack.

The Queen’s Plate is Canada’s premiere thoroughbred race and the oldest of its kind in the country. It is the first race in the Canadian Triple Crown and attracts fans, industry and some of the best headwear from across North America.

Don’t miss the pomp and thrill of one of the biggest races of the season! OLG is proud to support Woodbine Entertainment Group, Woodbine Racetrack and everyone involved in the Queen’s Plate.

A Message to the Ontario Horse Racing Industry

Logos

For the first time, representatives from the horse racing industry, the Government of Ontario and crown agencies are working together in support of a sustainable industry.

Following government direction first announced in October 2013, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) and the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA), are working with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the Ontario Racing Commission, government and the broader horse racing industry on a number of initiatives that will help develop the industry and grow the horse racing customer base. The government, OLG and OHRIA restated their support for integration at a meeting in February 2015.

The overall goal of integration is to build the foundation for a sustainable horse racing industry in Ontario, but achieving that goal will take time and a significant amount of work. For many months, OLG and OHRIA have been working with the government to lay the groundwork for success.

As part of this collaborative effort, a committee structure has been established to guide the many areas involved in integration. Comprised of senior representatives from both OLG and the industry, the Horse Racing Industry Executive Committee is providing decisive leadership and guidance by:

  • Creating a business model for integration that is focused on stability
  • Determining an appropriate funding framework to ensure long-term sustainability
  • Providing advice to the government and supporting future legislative changes
  • Partnering with the industry to optimize branding and build public awareness about horse racing
  • Reviewing and assessing new horse-themed gaming products

The Industry Executive Committee meets bi-weekly. Joining us on the committee are: Preet Dhindsa (OLG), Richard Carson (OLG), Michael Keegan (OLG), Tina MacMillan (OLG), Jean Major (AGCO), John Snobelen (Ontario Horse Racing), Steven Lehman (Ontario Racing Commission), Jim Lawson (Woodbine Entertainment Group) and Hugh Mitchell (Western Fair District).

Our committee is supported by the work of other groups, including the Interim Governance Committee (IGC). Chaired by John Snobelen, the IGC is developing options for improving industry self-governance and is building the capacity necessary for effective partnerships with OLG. Read a recent update from John here.

One of our committee’s objectives is to begin to communicate regularly with members of OHRIA and the public about the progress being made on integration so that we can build a narrative to increase confidence in the long-term future of horse racing. We are working together on several initiatives and will have more to discuss in the coming weeks.

Sincerely,

Stephen Rigby, President and CEO, OLG and Chair of the Industry Executive Committee

Sue Leslie, President and Chair, OHRIA and member of the Industry Executive Committee

 

Industry Governance Committee Formed

To support horse racing integration, OLG has worked with the government and industry to establish a committee structure that will deepen its relationships with the industry and begin to lay the foundation for success.

A key area of focus for horse racing integration is the creation of a new governance structure for the industry. The Interim Governance Committee has been created to solicit industry input on integration activities and provide advice to the Government of Ontario and its agencies. The committee is led by an independent chair and is supported by representatives from OLG and the horse racing industry.

The committee will be providing integration updates to the public and the industry on the Ontario Horse Racing website. Read the first update from John Snobelen, Chair of the Interim Governance Committee.

Horse Racing in the 2015 Ontario Budget

OLG is proceeding with horse racing integration as part of modernization. This means we are putting more of a focus on horse racing’s part in the overall provincial gaming strategy to make sure it has a strong future in Ontario.

In the 2015 Ontario Budget, the government “committed to strategically realigning Provincial horse racing regulation, adjudication and funding within government and agencies.” To do this, it is proposing legislative changes that would, if passed, “integrate support for provincial horse racing within OLG’s mandate and transfer the Province’s regulatory responsibilities for horse racing to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.”

The budget goes on to say that “strengthening collaboration between industry and government is important to the industry’s long-term sustainability, recognizing its role in both rural and urban Ontario.”

 

 

 

TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay Celebrates In Thunder Bay And Algoma Districts On May 31

The Pan Am flame rose with the sun on Day 2 of the Pan Am Games Torch Relay presented by President’s Choice® and OLG for a breathtaking visit in northern Ontario that included stops to honour a stuffed literary legend and one of Canada’s most inspirational athlete.  The flame’s route included Fort William First Nation, Thunder Bay, Nipigon, Terrace Bay, Marathon, White River and Wawa.

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OLG Celebrates 40th Anniversary of WINTARIO with Support for Local Charities and TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay

TORONTO, May 13, 2015 /CNW/ – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is celebrating the 40th anniversary of WINTARIO – Ontario’s first provincial lottery game. The anniversary was marked with a celebration today at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square where OLG previewed its support of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Torch Relay and introduced the “All for Community Challenge” initiative, which builds on WINTARIO’s legacy of support in local communities throughout the province.

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A Day in the Life of a Horse Groomer

Despite pay of just $500 a week and days that start at 3 a.m., passion for horses runs high for Linda Davis of Sam-Son stables and the other men and women — some from faraway lands — who care for Woodbine Racetrack’s thousand equine athletes like they’re family.

Town of Milton cashes in on slots

The Town of Milton has received yet another revenue payment of close to a million dollars from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Corporation.

A fourth-quarter (January to March 2015) non-tax gaming revenue payment of $973,502 was issued to the Town for hosting the OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack. This puts the total revenue payments for Milton at more than $90 million.

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More slots money for Ajax

The Town has received another quarterly payment from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

The fourth-quarter payment, covering January to March of this year, totalled $1,325,463 and it’s for Ajax hosting the OLG Slots at Ajax Downs.

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License to Win at Hanover

HANOVER – A local man is the happy owner of a brand new car thanks to OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway’s License to Win promotion. The finalists for the draw gathered for a banquet last Wednesday at Grey Rose in Hanover before the main event. Vic Morris was the lucky one and will be taking home his choice of one of five GM vehicles.

In other OLG news…

OLG issued a fourth-quarter (January to March, 2014) non-tax gaming revenue payment of $216,149 to the Town of Hanover for hosting OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway last week. To date, Hanover has received more than $11.7 million in non-tax gaming revenue.

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Falls gets $4.5M from OLG

Niagara Falls has received $4.5 million in non-tax gaming revenue from Ontario Lottery and Gaming.

The fourth-quarter payment (January to March) of $4,532,010 was issued to the city Tuesday for hosting Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino.

Since signing a new agreement with the provincial Crown corporation in 2013, Niagara Falls has received more than $42.7 million in non-tax gaming revenue.

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Pan Am notebook

The draw to determine which nations are in which team pool for the Pan Am soccer tournament will be held in Toronto on Friday, April 24.

As it sets the schedule for the “group phase” of a tournament, the draw is usually well-attended and considered a media event.

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Gini Stringer, Spencer Potter to be torchbearers when Pan Am Games flame comes to Orillia

Two of longtime local residents will hoist the relay torch in June when the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games flame passes through the city.

Gini Stringer, owner of Sunshine Carpet and Flooring, and Spencer Potter, a self-employed title searcher, are among the 3,000 torchbearers selected for the relay who will walk, run and use planes, trains and automobiles.

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Locals to join Pan-Am torch relay

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and President’s Choice has given two locals from Belleville the opportunity to be a Pan Am torchbearer.

Fred Deacon and Kenzo Dozono were selected to carry the torch in the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay.

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Pan Am torch to go through Sarnia and area June 16

John DeGroot will carry the Pan Am torch when this year’s games’ relay stops in Sarnia in June.

“It’s nice to be able to bring part of the Pan Am excitement to Sarnia,” said the gardening expert, DeGroot’s Nurseries owner and 2014 Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award winner.

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Woodstock Pan Am torchbearer chosen

A Woodstock woman will represent the Friendly City as a torchbearer in the Pan Am Games torch relay.

“I am elated to have been chosen as a Pan Am torchbearer,” said Diane Langner, past recipient of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Manufacturing Award, in a release. “These sporting events are a great way to demonstrate to young people how sports can lead to a healthier, happier life. I look forward to helping build excitement for the games in our community.”

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Stephen visits the Sault

The new president and CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) said it was his priority to visit Sault Ste. Marie from day one on the job.

Wednesday, on his third week on the job, incoming OLG President and CEO Stephen Rigby met with Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano and MPP David Orazietti at the Civic Centre.

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Slots pay dividends

The OLG is reporting second-quarter revenues today for the Village of Point Edward and City of Sarnia.

The village, which is host to OLG Casino Point Edward, is receiving $434,287 as its 5% share of gross slot machine revenue from the first 450 slot machines. Host municipalities also receive 2% from any additional machines.

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OLG delivers $1.3M cheque to city

The third-quarter cheque from OLG Casino Brantford’s profits has come in, adding just over $1.3 million to the city’s coffers.

The OLG has sent the city $1.307,627, which represents the municipality’s share of non-tax gaming revenue. The city receives the money for hosting an OLG casino.

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Hanover’s gambling revenues ‘envy of the region’

Hanover receives a million-dollar cash windfall annually from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation for hosting OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway, which probably makes it the envy of all municipalities in Grey-Bruce.

The town issued a news release Monday touting the benefits of the arrangement, which it says primarily allows Hanover to limit tax rate increases which would otherwise be required to maintain the community’s infrastructure and other needs.

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PlayOLG Launches Province Wide

OLG today announces the province-wide launch of its Internet gaming site, PlayOLG.ca.

Following a successful preview by eligible members of OLG’s Winner’s Circle Rewards program, PlayOLG is now live and available to legal-aged Ontarians. Eligible players across the province can now register for an account, play games and fully experience PlayOLG.

With the launch of PlayOLG, Ontario joins British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and all of the Atlantic Provinces in offering online gaming. Currently, approximately 500,000 Ontarians spend an estimated $400 – $500 million annually on grey market sites that are not regulated in Ontario.

“We are excited to launch PlayOLG, an important milestone in the modernization of gaming in Ontario,” said John Wisternoff, OLG’s Vice President of iGaming. “For Ontarians who love the excitement of gaming, PlayOLG offers a safe and regulated alternative to grey market websites.”

PlayOLG features a wide range of interactive casino-style games including slots and table games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Single-player Poker and Roulette, as well as the sale of LOTTO 6/49 and LOTTO MAX lottery tickets and ENCORE.

In addition to offering players the latest in Internet games and entertainment, PlayOLG provides a dedicated customer service team based in Ontario.

With the launch of PlayOLG as a new line of business, OLG will provide more money to the Government of Ontario for hospitals, community infrastructure and other government priorities.

OLG’s Responsible Gambling

PlayOLG has embedded Responsible Gambling (RG) tools which draw on Canadian and global best practices after consulting broadly with a range of stakeholders, researchers and addiction specialists.

OLG’s RG program continues to receive international recognition. The World Lottery Association (WLA) recently awarded OLG the WLA Best Overall Responsible Gambling Program Award. This award recognizes excellence in Responsible Gambling among more than 140 member organizations from around the world.

“PlayOLG’s RG safeguards are comparable to putting seatbelts and airbags in vehicles,” said Paul Pellizzari, OLG’s Executive Director of Social Responsibility. “The RG features focus on prevention and mitigation and include player education on healthy playing habits and how to seek help and support for problem gamblers.”

Play OLG’s RG features include:

  • No anonymous play
  • Registration includes age and identity verifications
  • Mandatory weekly deposit limits
  • Casino loss limits
  • Time limits for casino game play
  • Lottery ticket purchase limits
  • Customized RG messaging based on play levels
  • Seven day cooling-off period before increasing limits
  • Player self-assessments and risk profiles
  • Breaks from play on PlayOLG (one day to three months)
  • Self-Exclusion
  • Full account history available to every player
  • Tips for parents about password protection, how to use tools to restrict access to websites, and how to monitor their children’s Internet access and usage

 

 

OLG Announces New President & CEO

OLG today announced the appointment of Stephen Rigby as President and Chief Executive Officer, starting January 5, 2015.

“Stephen Rigby was chosen for his skills and experience in leading organizational change,” said Philip Olsson, Chair of OLG’s Board of Directors. “The Board is confident that Mr. Rigby has the ideal experience for the job and will follow through on OLG’s renewal plan. Under his leadership, OLG will keep its focus on responsible gambling while building a strong lottery, gaming, charitable gaming and iGaming industry.”

Mr. Rigby has led major transformations as President of the Canada Border Services Agency and in the role of Associate Deputy Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Most recently, Mr. Rigby was the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada.

As OLG’s new President & CEO, Stephen Rigby will lead an organization supported by 7,000 employees throughout the province. OLG is responsible for 24 gaming sites and sales of lottery products at approximately 9,800 retail locations. At approximately $2 billion annually, OLG provides the Ontario government with its largest source of non-tax revenue. Modernization will help OLG provide more money to Ontario for health care and education. Mr. Rigby will also lead OLG as it integrates horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy to further the Ontario government’s commitment to a sustainable industry.

“I am eager to begin my role with the OLG Board and management team at this critical point in OLG’s transition,” said Stephen Rigby. “I will be focused on helping to ensure OLG is offering its customers the best possible lottery and gaming entertainment experience for the benefit of the people and the Province of Ontario.”

OLG reports through its Board of Directors to Ontario’s Minister of Finance. Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, stated: “I look forward to working with Mr. Rigby as he leads OLG in its continued modernization to increase returns supporting important priorities for Ontarians, including health care and education, while promoting a sustainable horse racing industry.”

 

Three Toms agree… Let’s build it

Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) has committed to being the anchor tenant in a proposed Tier III data centre announced today by MPP David Orazietti at the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC).

“We are going to maintain a significant presence in Sault Ste. Marie. That’s the commintment of our chair. We are very interested that there is a good pipeline of talent in Sault Ste. Marie,” said Tom Marinelli, acting president and CEO of OLG.

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OLG offers preview of new online gambling site

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is launching an online gambling site early in 2015 and more than 17,000 people will be taking part in a preview of the system in the weeks before it’s widely available.

The internet gambling site features interactive, casino-style games including slots and table games such as blackjack, baccarat, poker and roulette.

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OLG Receives International Responsible Gambling Award

OLG announced today that it has received the World Lottery Association’s (WLA) 2014 Best Overall Responsible Gambling (RG) Program award.

The WLA announced the award during its biennial general meeting held on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 in Rome, Italy. Presented every two years, the award recognizes excellence in Responsible Gambling and rewards the gaming and lottery organization with the best overall program among more than 140 member organizations from across the world. Eligibility for the top prize is limited to operators with level 4 certification, the WLA’s highest level of accreditation.

“Over the past nine years, OLG has worked with problem gambling experts to develop an effective RG program,” said Tom Marinelli, Acting President and CEO, OLG. “We’re proud of the standard we are pursuing when it comes to RG and the recognition our program continues to receive. While we have made great strides, we will never stop making improvements guided by external research and the expectations of our customers.”

Benefiting from the work of problem gambling experts and leading researchers, OLG has developed an enterprise-wide Responsible Gambling program that provides players with information to help them make informed choices. Through comprehensive employee training, innovative technology and collaboration with community organizations, OLG provides a gateway to effective support services.

In addition to this recognition from the WLA, as of March 2014, all of OLG’s 19 gaming sites have received RG Check, the most rigorous RG accreditation program in the world.

As OLG’s modernization continues, private sector service providers will take over specific day-to-day operations of lottery and gaming in Ontario. At the same time, OLG will become a leaner, more focused organization, responsible for managing the lottery and gaming market and maintaining a gold standard in Responsible Gambling programming.

OLG Dishes Out Revenue

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is issuing its second quarter non-tax gaming revenue to Chatham-Kent and Windsor.

OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway is bringing $194,688 to Chatham-Kent, while just over $2.2-million is going to Windsor for hosting Caesars Windsor.

To date, Chatham-Kent’s received $8.4-million in non-tax gaming revenue. Windsor’s received $14-million

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Sault receives casino money

The City of Sault Ste. Marie has received $360,540 in its second-quarter non-tax gaming revenue payment for hosting a charitable casino.

The money represents the formula agreed to under the Municipality Contribution Agreement that determines the fee cities receive for hosting an OLG gaming facility. The formulas is based on an escalating scale of slot machine revenue that is consistent across all sits in Ontario.

To date since the Casino opened, the city has received more than $23.4 million in non-tax gaming revenue.

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Hanover And Central Huron Get OLG Payments

Hanover and Central Huron have gotten their latest quarterly payments from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Hanover has received a non-tax gaming revenue payment of $322,996 for hosting OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway.

To date, Hanover has received more than $12.3-million in non-tax gaming revenue.

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OLG sends city $5.3 million

Niagara Falls has received $5.3-million in non-tax gaming revenue from Ontario Lottery and Gaming.

The provincial Crown corporation announced Tuesday it issued its second quarter (July to September 2014) payment of $5,304,206 to the city for hosting Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort.

Since signing a new agreement with OLG last year, based on slot and table-game revenue, the city has received $33.2-million in non-tax gaming revenue.

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OLG presentation at G2E conference

On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, OLG provided an update on its modernization initiative during the G2E conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The session provided a high-level overview of where OLG is in the procurement process and its anticipated timelines going forward. The presentation did not include any information that is materially different from what is in RFPQ documents or otherwise already publically available.

To view the Power Point presentation, click here.

Great Canadian Cleanup Hits Dresden

Staff with OLG Slots in Dresden are hoping cleanup efforts along the Sydenham River can serve as as reminder against littering.

Mike McDonald with OLG in Dresden was part of the team of volunteers cleaning up along the river on Saturday as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup initiative.

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OLG BEGINS RFP PHASE OF LOTTERY PROCUREMENT

OLG has initiated the final phase of its procurement process by issuing Lottery Request for Proposal (RFP) documents to pre-qualified proponents. The RFP will enable OLG to select one service provider to run specific day-to-day operations of the lottery business in Ontario.

To OLG, the integrity of the procurement process is of the utmost importance. Procurement involves information of a commercially sensitive nature. As a result, details of the RFP documents and names of pre-qualified proponents will not be released while the process is ongoing. There will be no further communication about the RFP until a service provider is announced.

OLG expects to announce a successful service provider in fall 2015.

Read the full announcement.

Falls cashing in on casino windfall

The cash keeps flowing in — and flowing out.

Niagara Falls received $6.7 million from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. last week as part of a quarterly (April to June) payment for hosting Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino.

Since signing a new agreement with OLG last year, based on slot and table-game revenue, the city has received $27.9 million in quarterly payments.

Under the previous agreement with OLG, Niagara Falls received a fixed-rate of $3 million a year in hosting fees.

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Ajax receives $2.4 million in slots revenue

AJAX — The Town’s coffers are thicker today, after Ajax received a quarterly OLG payment of almost $2.4 million.

Ajax receives the funding as the host community of OLG Slots at Ajax Downs.

Since the slots opened in March 2006, Ajax has received more than $49 million.

“OLG host communities benefit in many ways from their partnerships with local gaming sites, including increased tourism, community sponsorships and job opportunities,” said Joe Dickson, MPP Ajax-Pickering. “In addition, these gaming revenue payments allow municipalities to invest in local priorities for their residents and also to keep taxes lower.”

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OLG pays city $1.2 million for first quarter

The City of Brantford has received more than $1.2 million from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation for hosting OLG Casino Brantford.

The money comes as a first-quarter non-tax gaming revenue payment from April to June of this year.

“OLG host communities like Brantford benefit in many ways from their partnerships with local gaming sites, including increased tourism, community sponsorships and job opportunities,” said Brant MPP Dave Levac in a media release. “In addition, these gaming revenue payments allow municipalities like Brantford to invest in local priorities for their residents.”

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OLG makes first quarter payment to Hamilton

According to a press release issued today, the Sault Ste. Marie office of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has issued a first-quarter (April to June, 2014) non-tax gaming revenue payment of $1,512,791 to the City of Hamilton for hosting OLG Slots at Flamboro Downs.

To date, Hamilton has received more than $61.8 million in non-tax gaming revenue.

“This community benefits tremendously from being a host to OLG and the partnership with local gaming sites. That includes more tourism, sponsorships for local events and job opportunities,” said Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale. “In addition, this money is going to allow local towns to invest in priorities for their residents.”

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Nearly $3M paid by OLG to Windsor for hosting Caesars

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has issued a first-quarter payment of $2,989,510 to the City of Windsor for hosting Caesars Windsor.

OLG said the payment up one per cent over last year’s first quarter.

To date, Windsor has received more than $11.7 million in non-tax gaming revenue.

These payments are made under an equitable formula in the Municipality Contribution Agreement that determines the fee municipalities receive for hosting an OLG gaming facility and are based on an escalating scale of slot machine revenue that is consistent across all sites in Ontario.

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City gets its share of OLG cash

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has issued a first-quarter (April to June, 2014) non-tax gaming revenue payment of $337,732 to the City of Sault Ste. Marie for hosting OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie. To date, Sault Ste. Marie has received more than $23 million in non-tax gaming revenue.

“OLG host communities benefit in many ways from their partnerships with local gaming sites, including increased tourism, community sponsorships and job opportunities,” said MPP David Orazietti. “In addition, these gaming revenue payments allow municipalities to invest in local priorities for their residents.”

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Cavan Monaghan receives $785,397 in Slots revenue

Cavan Monaghan has just received a payment of $785,397 from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. It’s the township’s first-quarter share of revenues from the OLG Slots at Kawartha Downs, covering April to June.

“OLG host communities benefit in many ways from their partnerships with local gaming sites, including increased tourism, community sponsorships and job opportunities,” said MPP Jeff Leal in a prepared statement. “In addition, these gaming revenue payments allow municipalities to invest in local priorities for their residents.”

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OLG 1000 Island Casino Helping Local Community

The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands and Gananoque are celebrating the contributions of the OLG Thousand Islands Casino.

The casino’s slot revenue is funding $103,936 of community grants this year.

Grant recipients include Gananoque and District Humane Society, Gananoque Canoe Club, Lansdowne Association for Revitalization, Lions Club of Gananoque, Lyndhurst Turkey Fair, Seeley’s Bay and Area Residents Association, Seeley’s Bay Medical Centre, Sculpture Park – Folk & Arts Festival, Two Rivers Music Festival, Festival of Storytelling – 1000 Islands Yarnspinners Gananoque, Gananoque Choral Society, Lions Club of Gananoque, 492 Gananoque Military Police Cadets, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92 and Isiah Higgs – athlete support.

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Hanover Slots officially re-open after renovations

HANOVER – OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway unveiled a new and improved look by welcoming customers to a refreshed and updated gaming floor Friday.

OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway is introducing a modernized gaming floor including 54 new slot machines and two electronic table games. Town of Hanover officials including mayor Kathi Maskell, chief administrative officer Mike Dunlop and director of planning and development Don Tedford joined representatives from the Hanover Raceway and OLG officials for a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion.

“Our strong partnership with Hanover Raceway gave us the perfect opportunity to expand and modernize our amenities, allowing us to continue providing a great gaming experience for our patrons,” said Spencer Parazader, general manager of OLG Slots at Hanover Raceway, in a news release.

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Community report recognizes OLG contributions

If you saw a wrapper around the Wellington Advertiser recently, it was Centre Wellington’s report to the community on how the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has made a positive impact on the local community.

On June 23, Centre Wellington Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj stated she hoped councillors and residents took time to read the publication.

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OLG’s Chair responds to the Auditor General of Ontario’s special report on OLG’s modernization plan

Ms. Bonnie Lysyk, Auditor General of Ontario
Office of the Auditor General of Ontario
20 Dundas Street West, Suite 1530
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2C2

Dear Ms. Lysyk:

I would like to first extend my thanks to you and your team for your diligent review of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Modernization Plan. At all times during the process of the audit both you and your staff were clearly dedicated to providing the Legislature with all the relevant information as well as pertinent analysis.

I want to thank you in particular for your personal reflections and your understanding of this complex business.

The fundamental finding of your Report—that the original modernization plan was ambitious—is accurate. I also agree with your conclusion that the procurement process that OLG has followed is fair, open and transparent. I concur with your statement that the revised municipal hosting fee process was also open and transparent. Most importantly, I am pleased that you noted OLG’s significant efforts to promote responsible gambling—and that modernization includes commitments to continue to enhance those initiatives.

I have five key items that I would like to raise in response to your Report’s findings: The importance of continuing with modernization in the best interests of Ontario; the rightful evolution of the plan; the engagement of municipalities in modernization; the inclusion of job estimates that are no longer accurate; and the work OLG is doing to help build a sustainable horse racing industry.

Importance of reform

Reforming the lottery and gaming business remains a worthwhile endeavour—one that will provide financial benefit to the Province and the people of Ontario. In fact, the Minister of Finance recently established an independent council to review ways to maximize the value of government assets, while preferably keeping ownership in public hands. That is precisely what OLG’s modernization plan entails.

The original plan was launched for reasons that continue to be relevant and valid today. In land-based gaming, over the years, service providers, stakeholders, vendors and Charity gaming providers were financially impacted by competitive pressures and sub-optimal locations too far from population density. The lottery business was facing a decreasing customer base and limited distribution channels.  OLG was absent from internet gaming, lagging behind other Canadian jurisdictions, while unregulated internet gaming operators developed a large Ontario market. At the same time, the government was seeking, as noted in the Drummond Report, stable sources of non-tax revenue.

By 2010, the pressures were clear: government needed new revenue; stakeholders were seeking improvement to the way OLG operated; and customers were looking for more convenience in technology, distribution channels and products.  Under Cabinet direction, OLG moved to revitalize Charitable gaming, to develop an iGaming platform, and to conduct a Strategic Business Review of both lottery and gaming.

As a result, OLG designed its plan, modernization, in order to ensure that the corporation could deliver higher and more sustainable revenue to government. It is a plan to transform virtually all aspects of the business model while preserving the legal obligations to conduct and manage gaming. The plan, unprecedented in size and scope, introduces private sector investment and innovation for the improvement of the product for customers.

At nearly $2 billion annually, OLG provides the Ontario government with its largest source of non-tax revenue. This money goes directly to hospitals and other government priorities.

Without substantial reform, it should be noted, Ontario’s lottery and gaming business requires about $1 billion of public capital investment for maintenance alone.  In addition, without action to address the current trends, the $2 billion annual dividend to government would slowly and steadily erode.

The original plan was based on sound business research and stakeholder consultations. OLG’s extensive review helped to develop a sound business model that maximized return to the Province while maintaining public control. We worked with a number of external business consultants who provided us with data from comparable jurisdictions around the world—particularly Illinois and Australia. We received advice and reports from a number of groups including the horseracing industry and gaming operators in other Canadian provinces.

Stakeholder consultations were extensive and included meeting with over 50 groups and individuals across the province. However, as your Report points out, once the decision to end the Slots-At-Racetrack Program (SARP) was made, OLG was not authorized as part of its mandate from government to consult with any stakeholder groups on specific policy decisions that were being contemplated as part of modernization. The policy direction for modernization (and its associated financial outcomes) flowed from the Provincial Budget process, which is completed under strict confidentiality.

Evolution of modernization

The modernization plan is one of the largest agency transformations in Ontario history and it has evolved, as necessary and proper since its first iteration.

The original plan was ambitious and the procurement process was complex. The timelines were tight and designed to reduce conflict of interest and protect the fairness of the procurements. The approval process from procurement documents to municipal engagement took far longer than OLG anticipated.

Through OLG’s Request for Information and Request for Pre-Qualification process, the agency has learned a considerable amount about the feasibility of the original plan, in particular, the necessity for deeper and wider engagement with stakeholders.  Through that process, OLG also learned that the model it developed resonated with the market, though it needed to evolve to consider the capacity of the private sector and the latest developments in technology.

The first estimates of the pace at which modernization could be completed were, as noted in your Report, aggressive. But over the last two years, OLG has completed an RFI process, has almost completed an RFPQ process, has successfully procured a service provider for iGaming, has launched the revitalization of charitable gaming, and is launching an RFP process for Gaming and Lottery—all while continuing to deliver consistent annual revenue to government and communities.

Engaging Municipalities

Municipal engagement in land-based gaming is of critical importance to OLG. The process of engaging with municipal governments began in 2012. The first discussions were about improvements to municipal funding agreements and then, in some communities, this led to discussions about the potential for new or moving facilities. Since 2012, 40 communities across Ontario have expressed interest in hosting (or continuing to host) a gaming facility through council resolution and public consultation. The RFPQ for land-based gaming states that if service providers want to offer new games, move locations or build new facilities, they will need to seek municipal approval.

Out-of-date job loss assumptions

I do want to note, particularly for OLG employees, that the job loss estimates stated in your Report are no longer accurate. They are based on a 2011 plan that had not been approved by government. Though OLG has been clear since modernization launch, that it will become a leaner organization, the plan is designed to maintain the industry so that it employs more Ontarians and contributes to local economic development.

Employees at OLG’s Sault Ste. Marie office and the Lesmill facility continue to be critical to the success of the lottery and gaming business in Ontario. These jobs are important for OLG—a fact that OLG has made clear to proponents in the RFPQ documents. Critical functions will remain in Sault Ste. Marie in the new OLG. OLG has stated that whatever service provider is selected to manage day-to-day operations of lottery or gaming sites must keep employees in their current geographic locations for a minimum of 12 months.

OLG is working with the City of Sault Ste. Marie on the modernization of the lottery and gaming business, to discuss ways in which OLG’s office and staff in Sault Ste. Marie will continue to play a key role. Premier Kathleen Wynne and Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti have both said that there are no plans to remove OLG jobs from Sault Ste. Marie.

Horse racing industry success

A year ago, the Premier asked OLG to incorporate horse racing into our plan—and it has done so. Ultimately, this will help support a sustainable horse racing industry in the province. For the past ten months, OLG has been working with the horse racing industry to extend leases; to offer market research and marketing support; and is currently developing a horse-themed gaming product. The agency requested that proponents demonstrate willingness to support horse racing integration. On Friday, OLG made a joint announcement with Ontario Horse Racing that tracks with OLG slot facilities, live race dates and five-year funding under the Horse Racing Partnership Plan (HRPP), will have the option for leases with a guaranteed term to 2019.

I do want to clarify, that, while OLG is providing its responsible gambling expertise to the horse racing industry, OLG has no jurisdiction to support or fund responsible gambling controls for horse racing.

Modernization provides additional $1 billion

OLG remains committed to its original intent of modernization, to provide increased revenue to its shareholder—the Province of Ontario. This continues to be a compelling rationale for reform.  The government has communicated that it is firmly in support of the revised plan.

Modernization is a multi-year plan, now in its third year, which, upon completion will deliver approximately $1 billion annually in additional net new profit to the Province. The revenue, in 2018-19, will include lottery innovation proceeds, gaming modernization benefits, new revenue from internet gaming and other efficiencies.

The transformation of Ontario’s lottery and gaming business will help ensure that instead of eroding revenue to government, OLG will be able to provide up to $3 billion in an annual dividend to the Province of Ontario, once it is fully complete in five year’s time.

Thank you again for the attention and leadership you demonstrated on this audit.

Sincerely,

Philip J. Olsson
Chair, OLG Board of Directors

Cc:
Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
Peter Wallace, Secretary of Cabinet

OLG begins RFP phase of gaming procurement

OLG has initiated the next phase of its procurement process by issuing Request for Proposal (RFP) documents to pre-qualified service providers selected to bid on the East Gaming Bundle.

The RFP will enable OLG to select one service provider to run the day-to-day gaming operations in three Gaming Zones. One zone is currently served by OLG Slots at Kawartha Downs and a second by OLG Casino Thousand Islands. In the third zone, which includes the area around the City of Belleville, there is the potential for a new gaming site.

To OLG, the integrity of the procurement process is of the utmost importance. Procurement involves information of a commercially sensitive nature. As a result, details of the RFP documents and names of pre-qualified service providers will not be released while the process is ongoing. Additionally, there will be no further communication about the RFP for this bundle until a proponent is announced.

OLG expects to announce a successful proponent in early 2015.

Read the full announcement.

Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry on track

TORONTO – The Government of Ontario, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), and the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC), through its newly formed Ontario Horse Racing (OHR) division, are partnering to build a sustainable future for the Ontario horse racing industry.

“OLG is pleased to partner with the government, ORC and OHR to build stability in the horse racing industry,” said Philip Olsson, OLG’s Chair of the Board. “Together, we are making progress bringing horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy.”

John Snobelen, a member of the province’s former Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel and the Interim Director of OHR said, “The government’s five year Horse Racing Partnership Plan lays a foundation for growth opportunities in the horse racing industry across Ontario.” He continued, “The work we are doing with the provincial government and OLG will build a sustainable industry and off-track network.”

5-Year OLG Lease Agreements for Racetracks 

Race tracks with OLG slot facilities, live race dates and five-year funding under the Horse Racing Partnership Plan (HRPP), will have the option for leases with a guaranteed term to 2019. This aligns with the government’s commitment for stable funding to the horse racing industry over the next five years under the HRPP.

OLG modernization & horse racing integration

OLG has added a requirement for horse racing expertise in its upcoming Requests for Proposals for gaming site operators throughout Ontario.

OLG is increasing support to Ontario’s horse racing industry through various marketing initiatives, research and responsible gambling programs. Working with gaming sites, OLG will advertise and cross-promote with race tracks to publicize horse racing across the province.

To further benefit the industry, OLG and OHR are working within current provincial and federal laws to explore new horse-themed lottery/gaming and wagering products. Details will be announced at a later date.

About the Ontario Racing Commission  

The Ontario Racing Commission acts in the public interest to govern, direct, control and regulate the horse racing industry in Ontario, including racing in all its forms, the operation of race tracks, licensing of racetracks and racing participants. The ORC must exercise its powers and perform its duties in the public interest and in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, and social responsibility. The role and authorities of the ORC are established by the Racing Commission Act, 2000 (Statutes of Ontario 2000, c.20) and its regulations.

The ORC reports to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and assists the ministry in its strategic priorities. OHR, the newly formed industry development division of the ORC, is the main delivery agent for government’s five-year Horse Racing Partnership Plan which came into effect April 1, 2014.

About the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation

OLG is a provincial agency responsible for province-wide lottery games and gaming facilities. Since 1975, OLG has provided nearly $38 billion to the Province and the people of Ontario. OLG’s annual payments to the Province have helped support health care; education, research, prevention and treatment of problem gambling; amateur sport through the Quest for Gold program; and local and provincial charities.

Becoming a leader in digital gaming

Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti and Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Acting President Tom Marinelli (pictured) were among several political leaders and other VIPs, involved in the gaming and information technology sectors, gathered for an announcement made at the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) Friday.

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Three more OLG sites earn highest RG accreditation

OLG Slots at Clinton Raceway, OLG Slots at Flamboro Downs, and OLG Slots at Grand River Raceway are the three latest OLG sites to earn RG Check accreditation. 

Now, a total of 16 sites and one gaming resort facility have been recognized by the most rigorous Responsible Gambling (RG) accreditation program in the world. The gaming sites that previously earned RG Check accreditation are:  

  • OLG Casino Brantford
  • OLG Casino Point Edward
  • OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie
  • OLG Casino Thousand Islands
  • OLG Casino Thunder Bay
  • OLG Slots at Ajax Downs
  • OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway
  • OLG Slots at Georgian Downs
  • OLG Slots at Kawartha Downs
  • OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack
  • OLG Slots at Sudbury Downs
  • OLG Slots at Western Fair District
  • OLG Slots at Woodstock Raceway 

In addition, Caesars Windsor was the first casino resort property in the world to achieve this accreditation when it was recognized in 2012. 

Administered 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 sites met all of these standards, earning OLG the highly recognized accreditation. 

When it comes to Responsible Gambling programming, OLG will continue to pursue the highest standard. This includes the goal of earning the RG Check accreditation at each of its gaming sites. 

Maintaining OLG’s high quality RG program is critical to OLG’s modernization. In the future, qualified private sector 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.

 

Casinos reward ‘green’ employee

NIAGARA FALLS — Niagara Casinos’ Green Committee honoured Steven Keilhau during a tree- planting ceremony recently in recognition of his Green Leader Award. The annual award, which was presented at the casinos’ spring Ovation Gala, recognizes an employee for his/her outstanding contributions towards improving environmental sustainability within the workplace and the community.

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OLG Releases Remaining Gaming RFPQs

OLG continues its modernization of the province’s lottery and gaming with the launch of the remaining Requests for Pre-Qualification (RFPQs) for gaming. OLG is also issuing a Request for Information (RFI) for a potential privately-funded, multi-purpose entertainment centre in Niagara Falls.

The RFPQs include up to 10 Gaming Zones grouped into three Gaming Bundles:

  • GTA Gaming Bundle – Gaming Zones C2 (OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack); C3 (OLG Slots at Ajax Downs); and potentially C8 (Great Blue Heron Casino);
  • Central Gaming Bundle – Gaming Zones C5 (OLG Slots at Georgian Downs); C6 (Casino Rama); and C7 (proposed new gaming site in Collingwood or Wasaga Beach); and
  • West GTA Gaming Bundle – Gaming Zones C4 (OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack); SW1 (OLG Slots at Grand River Raceway); SW2 (OLG Casino Brantford); and SW9 (OLG Slots at Flamboro Downs).

The RFPQ process enables OLG to create a list of qualified service providers who are then eligible to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents for specific Gaming Bundles. OLG has been releasing RFPQs for the modernization of gaming in stages. The release of these RFPQs follows the RFPQs for Gaming Bundles in Southwestern Ontario, Ottawa Area, Ontario East and Ontario North.

OLG is also launching a RFI to help gauge interest in the marketplace for developing and financing a potential Niagara entertainment centre. It is anticipated that the potential multi-purpose entertainment centre would be similar to, or larger in size and scale, than facilities at Caesars Windsor and Casino Rama.

Read the full announcement on OLG.ca.

First OLG Corporate Social Responsibility Report Now Available

OLG has released its first comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, which will serve as a baseline measure of OLG’s efforts in key areas of social responsibility, including:

  • Responsible Gambling and efforts to address problem gambling;
  • Earning and keeping customers’ trust;
  • Supporting employees’ engagement in communities;
  • Strengthening communities; and
  • Reducing OLG’s impact on the environment.

“We are proud of the progress we are making on our CSR efforts,” said Rod Phillips, President and CEO, OLG. “Each year, through this report, we will demonstrate the progress we are making on these efforts and articulate our goals for the coming year.” 

In the past, OLG has reported on its social responsibility initiatives in a number of different ways, including its Responsible Gambling web site, knowyourlimit.ca; its annual report; and In Your Community reports. Now, OLG’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report will bring all of this information together each year into one comprehensive document. 

“Ontarians rightly expect OLG to maintain a strong standing as a good corporate citizen and to integrate the values they hold into our culture, policies, programs, and decision making,” said Phillips. “Ultimately, our goal is to be a global leader when it comes to social responsibility and how we report on our CSR efforts.” 

You can find a copy of the report on the Corporate Social Responsibility page of ModernOLG.ca.

 

OLG sites save hundreds of electronics from going to landfill!

Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams with millions of metric tonnes being produced each year. One way that Living Planet @ Work champions have taken action on this issue is by hosting employee e-waste drives, collecting piles of outdated or broken electronics and sending it off to be responsibly recycled so it doesn’t end up in the landfill or illegally shipped overseas.

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Falls commits funds for new hospital

City politicians pledge up to $22 million for south Niagara health care facility

NIAGARA FALLS — A new south Niagara hospital in Niagara Falls moved front and centre Tuesday when City politicians pondered a staff report on how the City should spend funds generated by a new hosting formula with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Funding for the hospital was one of a series of priorities – the others being tax relief, capital asset re-investment, economic development and debt deferral – listed in the report. But with the news that the province had approved a planning grant – considered the first step in making a new hospital a reality – Mayor Jim Diodati put forward a motion that the city commit “somewhere between $20- and $22-million to the hospital with funding derived from the OLG agreement.”

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More than half of OLG’s facilities have received RG Check accreditation

TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2013 /CNW/ – With the addition of three Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) gaming facilities, a total of 13 sites and one gaming resort facility have now earned RG Check accreditation. The three latest sites to be recognized by the most rigorous Responsible Gambling (RG) accreditation program in the world are OLG Slots at Georgian Downs, OLG Slots at Kawartha Downs and OLG Casino Thousand Islands.

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Highest RG accreditation earned by three more OLG sites

With the addition of OLG Slots at Georgian Downs, OLG Slots at Kawartha Downs and OLG Casino Thousand Islands, a total of 13 gaming sites and one gaming resort facility have now earned RG Check accreditation. This means that more than half of OLG’s gaming sites have been recognized by the most rigorous Responsible Gambling (RG) accreditation program in the world.   

OLG Slots at Georgian Downs, OLG Slots at Kawartha Downs and OLG Casino Thousand Islands are the three latest OLG gaming sites to earn RG Check accreditation.

Ten other gaming facilities have previously earned the RG Check accreditation, including: 

  • OLG Slots at Western Fair District;
  • OLG Casino Point Edward;
  • OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway;
  • OLG Casino Brantford;
  • OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack;
  • OLG Slots atWoodstockRaceway;
  • OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie;
  • OLG CasinoThunder Bay;
  • OLG Slots atAjaxDowns; and
  • OLG Slots atSudburyDowns.

In addition, Caesars Windsor was the first casino resort property in the world to achieve this accreditation when it was recognized in 2012. 

Administered 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 sites met all of these standards, earning OLG the highly recognized accreditation.

OLG knows that when it comes to Responsible Gambling, there is always room for improvement and maintaining OLG’s high quality RG program is critical to OLG’s modernization. OLG will continue to work towards achieving the RG Check accreditation at each of its sites. In addition, 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.

 

OLG sites save hundreds of electronics from going to landfill!

Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams with millions of metric tonnes being produced each year. One way that Living Planet @ Work champions have taken action on this issue is by hosting employee e-waste drives, collecting piles of outdated or broken electronics and sending it off to be responsibly recycled so it doesn’t end up in the landfill or illegally shipped overseas.

Read  more

Area casino on track: OLG

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation representative Jake Pastore was before Wasaga Beach council members Oct. 22 to assure them that despite a change in command at Queen’s Park, there is no delay in the ‘modernization’ plan.

Pastore came to the table to say everything is on track, there is no delay and the OLG zone that includes Wasaga Beach and Collingwood will have its casino.

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Casino Profits Jump

Point Edward’s take from the waterfront casino for the quarter ending September 30 is just over $668,000.

It’s the latest payment under a new formula announced by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in May of this year.

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C-K receives slot payment

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation issued its fourth-quarter payment of $173,212 to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent for hosting the OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway.

OLG is modernizing Ontario’s lottery and gaming industry, stating it will increase revenue for the province and create jobs, while continuing to support municipalities through a new consistent funding model for those hosting a gaming facility.

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OLG pays city $356,567 as casino host

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. issued a second-quarter (July to September, 2013) non-tax gaming revenue payment of $356,567 to the City of Sault Ste. Marie for hosting OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie.

To date, Sault Ste. Marie has received more than $22 million in non-tax gaming revenue.

City receives $622,799 in slots revenue

Greater Sudbury has received its latest payment from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, a total of $622,799 for the second quarter.

The money is the city’s share for hosting OLG Slots at Sudbury Downs. The agreement has been in place since the late 1990s and has earned the city $30 million in non-tax gaming revenue.

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Brantford cashes latest OLG cheque

The second-quarter payment to the City of Brantford from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) is 3.1% higher than what the city received this summer.

The OLG released the second-quarter amount Tuesday, showing the city will receive $1,328,814 for the period of July to September. The dollars flow from a sliding-scale percentage of overall slots revenue from OLG Casino Brantford, as well as 4% of table-game revenues.

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Niagara Falls receives $5.6M

$12 million.

Not bad for two payments.

Niagara Falls received $5.6 million this week as part of a quarterly payment (July to September) from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. for hosting Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino.

The city received $6.4 million in July — the first payment under a new formula introduced in May that bases compensation on casino revenues.

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Province announces five-year plan to strengthen horse racing industry

The Ontario Liberal government has released its five-year plan aimed at developing a sustainable horse racing industry in the province. The strategy is based on the final Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel report and includes a commitment to provide up to $400 million over five years to “sustain a wide range of racing opportunities that are supported by strong business plans,” according to a press release issued earlier today.

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Statement From OLG President And CEO Rod Phillips Re: Ontario’s Five-Year Plan For A Sustainable Horse Racing Industry

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) will continue to work with the Ontario government and the horse racing sector to integrate horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy.

We appreciate the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel’s leadership on the development of the five-year plan that will help ensure a vibrant and sustainable horse racing sector in Ontario. OLG will commit the necessary resources to implement and execute the government’s plan.

OLG’s modernization will be fully implemented in 2017-18. A modern OLG will help create thousands of jobs and drive more than $3 billion in capital investments across Ontario. It will also enable OLG to generate additional revenue to help fund provincial priorities such as hospitals and municipal infrastructure.

New casino cash to pay for engineering projects

Staff will begin $2.2 million worth of design work for sewer, road, bridge, park and transportation improvements thanks to $20 million Niagara Falls is expected to receive this year from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

It’s the first sign of how city council will spend some of the new money — at least six times greater than the $3 million a year the municipality has received as compensation for hosting two provincial-owned casinos.

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Falls accepts ‘fabulous’ casino deal with OLG

City council unanimously approved a new funding agreement with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Tuesday that could see Niagara Falls receive more than $19 million this year for hosting Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara. It replaces the guaranteed $3 million the city has been getting annually since casino gambling came to town in 1996.

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Letter to the Editor – Ottawa Citizen

We recognize the risks associated with gambling and the serious effects they can have on people and families. That’s why we deal with problem gambling head-on. 

With contributions from OLG, Ontario has the best funded Responsible Gambling program in North America. Each year, approximately $50 million is spent on researching, preventing and mitigating problem gambling. This includes funding for free problem gambling counseling services at 52 locations across Ontario, including four centres in Ottawa—Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre, Centretown Community Health Centre and Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services. 

OLG works to prevent problem gambling from occurring in the first place, and to provide a bridge to assistance for those who need it. We have Responsible Gambling Centres at all of our sites and our eight largest sites are supported by staff from the Responsible Gambling Council. In addition, over 7,200 of OLG’s front-line staff have received training developed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to recognize and respond to players who ask for help. 

Plans for potential new or expanded slot and casino facilities are based on a moderate evolution of a gambling model available to Ontarians since the mid-1990s. This fact is critical when discussing questions related to potential long term increases in problem gambling rates. 

A 2007 study of problem gambling literature for Canadian Gaming Association found that while the introduction of new forms of gambling result in an initial increase in problem gambling prevalence, this is followed by a plateau and a decline in these rates over time. Furthermore, gambling is not new to Ottawa. For more than 13 years, the city has had a gaming facility at Rideau Carleton Raceway. 

OLG is already working on solutions related to a number of the ideas raised in Ottawa’s Public Health report, including building time and money limits into the slot machine of the future. 

OLG is also working on using data analysis to drive direct feedback to players based on individual behavior and providing players with histories of their play. In addition, going forward, we will seek innovative solutions for the placement of ATMs to address RG concerns while still meeting the expectations of the 95 per cent of customers who don’t have a problem. 

At OLG, responsible gambling is a central focus and a driving force behind our business. We realize there are risks associated with gambling and we deal with them head-on. The bottom line is we don’t want problem gamblers playing our games. 

Paul Pellizzari
Executive Director, Policy & Social Responsibility

 

Southwest gaming Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) comes to a close

OLG’s RFPQ for the Southwest Gaming Bundle is now closed, marking another milestone in the continuing modernization of lottery and gaming in Ontario. With the gaming RFPQs launched to date, OLG is in active procurement in more than half of its 29 Gaming Zones. 

The Southwest Gaming Bundle RFPQ was issued on May 29, 2013 and closed on August 8, 2013. OLG will now undertake its due diligence in evaluating the RFPQ submissions and select service providers who will be eligible to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents. 

As part of the RFP process, pre-qualified service providers proposals can include building a new gaming site anywhere in a Gaming Zone, where there is support from the municipality. But successful proponents will need to work with the host municipality on the specifics of a facility, including the preferred location.  

Where Gaming Zones have been bundled, a service provider’s proposal will need to be for the entire bundle, not for individual Gaming Zones or Gaming Sites. This means that service providers demonstrate their ability to take over specific day-to-day operations at multiple facilities in a given region or geographic area of Ontario. 

As part of its modernization, OLG is working with the government and horse racing industry stakeholders to integrate horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy in order to ensure future revenue streams for the industry. In July, OLG took part in four of the Panel’s industry consultation sessions to discuss ideas put forth by the Panel in its consultation report.

In the coming months, OLG will launch RFPQs for the remaining Gaming Zones. 

Read the full announcement

Letter to the Editor – Ottawa Citizen

At the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, responsible gambling is a central focus and a driving force behind our business.

In his opinion piece, Jeff Morrison repeats an oft-cited claim about the number of problem gamblers who play our games. However, this information is based on a very limited study completed close to 10 years ago. The authors, Robert Williams and Richard Wood, themselves acknowledge the limitations of their findings, saying they are based on a very small sample size of 32 problem gamblers.

Read full letter

OLG Collaborates with Internationally Renowned Responsible Gambling Academic

This week OLG’s Social Responsibility team hosted Dr. Sally Gainsbury from Southern Cross University in Australia. Rod Phillips, OLG President and CEO, was on hand to welcome Dr. Gainsbury and her research colleague Laura Jakob, a consultant with Communio in Australia, to OLG.

Dr. Gainsbury, who is conducting major studies on pre-commitment tools to support Responsible Gambling (RG) in Australia and on RG considerations for social media internationally, was here to gather OLG’s perspectives for her research and to hear updates on OLG’s RG program.

OLG maintains a mutually beneficial relationship with researchers like Dr. Gainsbury. While OLG gains input from credible academics in RG research, it is also able to provide people like Dr. Gainsbury with an operator’s view to inform her research.

Dr. Gainsbury is also affiliated with the Gambling Research Exchange Ontario (GREO) serving as peer reviewer of research.  In 2011, she prepared their consultation submission on OLG’s RG platform for iGaming. Her paper has significantly helped to inform OLG’s RG policies and program for iGaming.

Dr. Gainsbury’s twitter feed offers an international perspective on Responsible Gambling initiatives.  You can follow her at @DrSalGainsbury.

E-Bingo may help charities boost funding

A new plan for bingo in Thunder Bay could bring in more money for local charities if city council gives the green light to electronic bingo.

If council agrees to a partnership with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, bingo players could soon put down their dabbers and hunker down behind touch-screen terminals at Thunder Bay Community Bingo.

Read full article

“Save our Casino” rally on july 30

Less than week to go until The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands and the Town of Gananoque hold their “Save Our Casino” Rally to reinforce the message to casino investors that the two municipalities are welcoming communities and support the current casino location as the logical business and community choice for Casino Thousand Islands. The rally will be held on Tuesday, July 30 from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Lou Jeffries Recreational Centre in Gananoque.

 

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More OLG facilities recognized with the highest responsible gambling accreditation

Another four OLG gaming facilities have earned RG Check accreditation—the most rigorous Responsible Gambling (RG) accreditation program in the world. 

The four additional sites are: 

  • OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie;
  • OLG Casino Thunder Bay;
  • OLG Slots at Ajax Downs; and
  • OLG Slots at Sudbury Downs. 

These four sites join OLG Casino Brantford, OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack and OLG Slots at Woodstock Raceway and one gaming resort facility—Caesars Windsor—which all earned the RG accreditation in 2012. Caesars Windsor was 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. 

OLG knows that when it comes to Responsible Gambling, there is always room for improvement and maintaining OLG’s high quality RG program is critical to OLG’s modernization. OLG will continue to work towards achieving the RG Check accreditation at each of its sites. In addition, 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.

 

Resort casinos are earning money

Readers may be aware that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is modernizing the provincial lottery and gaming industry to ensure its long-term success.

OLG generates about $2 billion annually in profit which is returned to the province of Ontario. This money is used to help fund provincial priorities such as hospitals and municipal infrastructure. When modernization is complete, additional revenue will be available for these provincial priorities. Also, a modern OLG will help create thousands of jobs and drive more than $3 billion in capital investments across Ontario.

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Deal us in: City wins with OLG change

A change to what’s included in the hosting fee for OLG Casino Brantford could mean a more than 50% increase in the cash the city collects each year.

The change, announced by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. on May 17, covers the hosting fee payments Brantford receives as of April 1. The new formula to determine the city’s quarterly payments replaces the one that was in the agreement approved by city council in November.

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OLG seeking gaming operators

A request for pre-qualification for the southwest gaming bundle issued Wednesday by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is welcomed by Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope.

“I’m glad to see the OLG has finally taken this step,” said the mayor. “We will now be able to see what the private sector is interested in doing in Chatham-Kent.”

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OLG Issues RFPQ for Southwest Ontario Gaming Bundle

OLG continues its modernization of gaming in Ontario by launching its fourth gaming Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ). The RFPQ will allow OLG to pre-qualify service providers for specific day-to-day operations of gaming sites in six Gaming Zones in Southwestern Ontario. 

Through the RFPQ, interested service providers will submit proposals for the entire Southwest Gaming Bundle as set out in the RFPQ. This means that service providers are being asked to demonstrate their ability to operate all six facilities in the Southwest Gaming Bundle, not for individual Gaming Zones or gaming sites contained within a bundle. 

OLG is releasing RFPQs for the modernization of gaming in stages. It issued its first three RFPQs for nine gaming sites on November 30, 2012—one each for the Ottawa Area, Ontario East and Ontario North—all of which closed in March 2013. OLG is now evaluating submissions for these RFPQs to select service providers who are eligible to receive the Request for Proposals document. 

OLG will issue separate RFPQs for the remaining Gaming Zones—some in Gaming Bundles—over the next several months. 

To find your gaming zone and learn more about your nearest OLG property, or a potential new property in your area, visit Discover Your OLG Gaming Zone.

 

Markham, Vaughan councils to mull casino bids

Markham and Vaughan are looking at jumping into the casino game again after Toronto dropped out last week.

Councils for the two cities will meet separately Tuesday night to start gauging support for a casino as part of a major convention, entertainment and hotel complex near public transit in their communities north of Toronto.

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Mayor happy with new OLG funding formula

Sault Ste. Marie can expect about an extra $100,000 a year in revenue for hosting the Sault Ste. Marie Casino under a new funding formula announced by Ontario Lottery and Gaming late last week.

The new formula is being promoted by OLG as more “equitable” to determine the fee municipalities receive for hosting an OLG gaming facility and the formula will be applied to all gaming facilities across Ontario.

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Casinos now even more lucrative for host communities

Toronto councillors may have overwhelmingly rejected a downtown casino, but some of their nearby counterparts are betting that a gambling facility could pay off for their municipalities.

Just 35 kilometres east is Ajax, which wrote proudly of its 800 slot machines in a municipal notice of motion last year and boasted that it already has one of the “most successful gaming establishments in the province.’’ The slots opened in 2006 and have returned revenues of just over $38 million to the town.

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Paul Godfrey leaves OLG

Former Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation chairman Paul Godfrey says, from his understanding, the entire OLG board of directors has resigned.

This comes after Godfrey was officially removed from his post as OLG chair by Premier Kathleen Wynne earlier Thursday.

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New hosting fee renews OLG’s support of cities and towns

OLG continues to support local economies through a new and equitable formula to determine what a municipality will receive for hosting an OLG gaming facility. The new formula will provide more money for all host municipalities and be the same across the province. 

The new MCA formula will be the same as the previous formula, with the addition of 4% on table game revenue. 

The new MCA formula, host municipalities will receive: 

  • 5.25% on the first $65 million of slot revenue;
  • 3.0% on the next $135 million of slot revenue;
  • 2.5% on the next $300 million of slot revenue;
  • 0.5% on slot revenue above $500 million; and
  • 4.0% on table game revenue. 

So, let’s say a facility generates $100 million in revenue ($65 million from slots and $35 million from table games). Under the new formula, the host municipality would receive $4.8 million in hosting fees. The calculation of the fee breaks down like this: 

Type of Revenue

Amount

Percentage

Total

Slots

$65 million

5.25%

$3.4 million

Table Games

$35 million

4.00%

$1.4 million

      Grand Total:

$4.8million

 In addition to hosting fees, OLG’s current and future host communities benefit from local job creation, economic development, capital investments and property tax revenue.

 Read the full announcement.

Majority of gamblers act responsibly

Recently, the topic of gambling has attracted a great deal of attention, especially because of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s interest in locating a casino in Waterloo Region.

We, as researchers and local residents, have been following the one-sided debate that has emerged. While there is no doubt that problem gamblers are attracted to gambling venues, there is also evidence that a majority of people gamble responsibly whether in a casino or at a church bingo. Our research has found that many seniors (a low-risk group in general) welcome a casino’s safety, climate control, affordable meals and transportation and opportunity to socialize with family and friends.

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The majority of gamblers act responsibly

Recently, the topic of gambling has attracted a great deal of attention, especially because of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s interest in locating a casino in Waterloo Region.

We, as researchers and local residents, have been following the one-sided debate that has emerged. While there is no doubt that problem gamblers are attracted to gambling venues, there is also evidence that a majority of people gamble responsibly whether in a casino or at a church bingo.

Read more

Lottery Request for pre-qualification now closed

Today marked the close of OLG’s Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) for the modernization of lottery. 

OLG will now undertake its due diligence in evaluating the RFPQ submissions and select potential service providers who are eligible to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP) document. 

Following the RFP process, OLG will select a qualified service provider. The service provider will be responsible for operating the day-to-day lottery business, recommending strategies to maximize the growth and success of the lottery business, developing products and marketing plans, as well as process and cost optimization. The service provider will also serve as a single point of contact for OLG by ensuring subcontractors deliver on OLG’s requirements. 

Read the full announcement.

Exec. committee approves idea of downtown casino

The mayor’s executive committee has paved the way for a casino in downtown Toronto.

The small group of councillors voted on Tuesday 9-4 in favour of allowing a casino to operate in the city.

The four that opposed the idea are Jaye Robinson, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong and Paul  Ainslie. Those who voted in favour of the casino are Mayor Rob Ford, Michael Thompson, David Shiner, Cesar Palacio, Doug Holyday, Norm Kelly, Frank Di Giorgio, Vincent Crisanti and Gary Crawford.

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Ford’s exec committee pushes casino debate to council

Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee has approved a motion that will move the debate over whether Toronto should host a casino in the downtown core, or Exhibition Place, to city council.

The vote passed nine to four in favour of the motion which supported city manager Joe Pennachetti’s report last week that made 43 recommendations council should consider if it were to go ahead with a gaming facility.

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Comparing the casino experience around the world

As discussion about a new GTA gaming entertainment centre continues, there is a natural tendency to compare the gaming experience in other jurisdictions as a way of predicting what the experience might be in Ontario.

In some cities casinos are the main tourist attraction and in others casinos are part of an integrated mix of entertainment options.

Atlantic City is an example of a community where gaming is the main tourist attraction. It has 12 casinos, 29,000 slots, 1,700 table games, and employs 32,000 people in these facilities. But a look at the surrounding area shows the casinos are not well integrated into the community.  

This is not what is being suggested for the GTA.

In the GTA, gaming would not be the only attraction, but rather it would be part of a wide mix of entertainment offerings in the area. And, what is envisioned for the GTA is not just a casino, but a gaming entertainment centre with hotel, retail and convention space. 

It would be about gaming, but equally important would be hospitality, entertainment and retail. It would also broaden the region’s appeal and capacity for conventions, business travel and tourism. It could be a real driver for growth, investment and development in the GTA. 

The GTA has a lot more in common with a place like Greater Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne has a population of 4 million and one major casino in its downtown core. At 5.5 million square feet, The Crown Casino has 1,600 hotel rooms and 16 restaurants. It covers two full city blocks. It employs about 10,000 people. Right next door, is the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre—the largest in southern hemisphere. 

This year, Melbourne was ranked as the world’s most liveable city by the Economist Magazine. 

Cleveland, Ohio is another example of a city where a casino is part of a broad entertainment mix. The Greater Cleveland Area has a population of just over 2 million people. According to a recent Globe and Mail report, more than 11 million people are expected to visit downtown Cleveland this year – twice the number of just two years ago.

Driving the increase in tourism is a new casino and a new Cleveland Museum of Art, in addition to a number of other tourist attractions, like a $465-million convention centre, a $33-million aquarium, and a Museum of Contemporary Art. 

For a comparison of Atlantic City and Melbourne, visit Casino Integration

 

OLG selects vendor for its iGaming initiative

When OLG’s Internet Gaming initiative is launched in late 2013, PlayOLG.ca will be the only safe, lawful and regulated online gaming site available in Ontario.

OLG has taken another important step towards bringing iGaming to Ontario with the selection of a vendor to provide a Player Account Management System for the web site and support for online casino table games and slots. SPIELO G2 was selected through a fair and competitive procurement process, which OLG began in December 2011.

Currently, when people visit PlayOLG.ca, they will find general information on OLG’s iGaming and Responsible Gambling program. In fall 2013, PlayOLG.ca will feature fun and exciting games, along with comprehensive Responsible Gambling features. PlayOLG.ca will also offer increased player protections, secure transactions and data privacy, and will require players to register to play to protect underage users from accessing the site.

Ontarians will be offered a full range of online gaming options, including: 

  • Online lottery tickets (National lotto games like LOTTO MAX and LOTTO 6/49, Ontario lotteries like ONTARIO 49 and PICK- 3, etc., and Quick Play lottery games)
  • Video Poker
  • Online Slots
  • Casino-style table games 

OLG will be introducing additional iGaming products in phases. Future launches will include online poker, bingo, and sports wagering. 

iGaming is part of OLG’s modernization of lottery and gaming in Ontario. Within five years of operation, PlayOLG.ca is estimated to deliver $375-million or more in net cumulative profit to the Province—revenue that supports important priorities like health care and community infrastructure.

OLG Response to Auditor General’s Review

“OLG will support the Auditor General’s review in every way we can and we look forward to working with his office,” said Rod Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer.

OLG provides nearly $2 billion annually to the Government of Ontario. Modernization will increase this contribution, providing more money for hospitals, education and community infrastructure across the Province.

Since 1975, OLG lotteries, Casinos, Slots, and Resort Casinos have generated more than $36 billion for the benefit of the Province of Ontario.

The case for a casino is clear

The arguments in favour of a casino-hotel-convention complex at either Exhibition Place or in the city’s downtown core are compelling.

As Mayor Rob Ford notes, it will provide thousands of jobs, it will add to the city’s tax base, it will increase tourism and convention business and it will boost economic development.

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Casino consultations take form in Kitchener and Waterloo

City councillors in Kitchener approved a long list of rules Monday for the two public consultations that will be held on whether the city should have a casino.

Anyone who wants to make a presentation to councillors must preregister before 5 p.m. on Friday, April 19. If delegations want to use a Power Point it must be given to city staff by 9 a.m. the day of the meeting. The first public meeting will be held Tuesday, April 23, at 6 p.m. It is scheduled to run to 11 p.m.

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OLG PRESIDENT & CEO RESPONDS TO TORONTO CITY MANAGER’S REPORT

We welcome the views contained in the Toronto City Manager’s Report. The final proposal must be approved by the City, the proponent, OLG and the Province of Ontario. 

OLG is currently reviewing the Municipality Contribution Agreement to ensure the principles of fairness and equal treatment govern this formula, which will be the same for all host communities across the Province.

We are working with the Ministry of Finance and will report to the Minister this month.

Rod Phillips

President & CEO

All bets are on: Do casinos pay off for cities?

Venture down any number of streets in Toronto these days and you’re bound to see a sign or two protesting the mega-casino/resort proposed for the city’s downtown core. No Casino Toronto — a group of well-organized “concerned citizens” — has its own Facebook page and website, complete with an action kit where you can order a free lawn sign, join a petition and send an email directly to your councillor.

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City of Toronto Staff Report – New Casino and Convention Development in Toronto

At the November 5, 2012 Executive Committee meeting, the City Manager presented a preliminary report, “Considering a New Casino in Toronto”, and was directed to conduct a public consultation, provide further analysis, and report back with recommendations. This report responds to the requests of Executive Committee, and provides analysis on both the OLG C1 and C2 zones.

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Peterborough Square rolling the dice on casino

Peterborough Square may bet its future as host of a casino. on the lower level of the downtown mall.

While details of the plan haven’t been released, on Thursday (April 5) Cheryl McQueen, property manager for Peterborough Square, confirmed the company is looking into whether the mall’s lower level could host a new gaming facility.

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Why you should be hot for Cleveland

The sunlight – if you can call that muted glow actual sunlight – is quickly fading, returning the late-winter sky to its customary gun-metal grey. It’s happy hour on Friday and the folks streaming into the Happy Dog, located three kilometres from downtown Cleveland, begin to disrobe in a perfunctory burlesque performance: First come the gloves, then the scarves and finally the puffy coats and wool sweaters. The knit caps, however, stay firmly affixed.

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Waterloo Region Record

The City of Waterloo is asking residents during the month of April to share what they think about having a casino in the community.

Beginning April 2, Waterloo residents can share their thoughts via email, phone, mail and fax, and can complete a survey online.

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Sault means business

Economic development and diversification continues to be city council’s highest priority, said Mayor Debbie Amaroso.

And council will continue to strengthen supports to help local business succeed and prosper, she said. 
Amaroso was the keynote speaker at a Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce breakfast event Thursday.

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Rolling the dice

The City of Waterloo will listen to its constituents as it weighs the decision of whether or not to entertain the idea of bringing a casino to town.

Councillors voted 6-2 Monday night to listen to resident input on the possibility of a casino.

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OLG president visits Belleville

Plans for a casino in the city of Belleville are moving ahead, and a recent visit by OLG President and CEO Rod Phillips confirmed that they hope to have found an independent operator for the potential facility by the end of the year, likely sometime in November.

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So, Toronto: Do You Want a Casino?

The first thing you have to know about Rod Phillips is that he’s an immensely likeable guy, which makes him the perfect pitch man to move one of Ontario’s most controversial policies ever to fruition.

Phillips is CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), and as such, is responsible for remitting as much money as possible to the provincial treasury. These days, that’s getting harder to do. Casinos aren’t the magic bullet they once were 20 years ago, when Ontario’s first one was established in Windsor. Now, it seems, everyone’s got one.

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Scott Stinson: There is no moral argument for the status quo on Casinos

Suppose that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. did not have a monopoly on gambling-related products in the province but on, say, bookshops. Or — getting crazy here — alcohol.

Now suppose that 15 years ago, an NDP government approved the concept of big bookstores or boozecans or whatever only in towns close to the border, where they would lure Americans enticed by a weak loonie to cross the porous border. It worked for a while, but then travel restrictions and a strengthened dollar cut the business by more than three-quarters.

It would seem ridiculous, in that scenario, to propose that the status quo is ideal. If the Ontario Bookseller and Magazine Corp. put forth a new business plan that called for selling its wares not just in places that used to attract tourists by the boatload, but closer to the major urban centres where the majority of customers live, it’s hard to imagine anyone saying this was not a sensible idea. And yet, as it pertains to opposition to the OLG’s proposal to put a casino somewhere in the Greater Toronto Area, subject to the whims of local politicians, that’s about where we are.

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Kitchener, Waterloo to hold casino consultations

Kitchener and Waterloo councils have both voted in favour of holding public consultations into attracting a casino to their respective cities, although there will be no such discussions in Cambridge.

Councils in all three municipalities held votes Monday night on whether to discuss the issue of casino development with citizens.

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Casino’s no heaven, but no hell either

Redemption or downfall?

A multibillion-dollar downtown casino resort would be neither for Toronto, the mayor of Brantford says.

“It is not going to be the most amazing thing ever. But you’re not going to drop into the deepest depths of Hell. It will be somewhere in the middle,” Chris Friel said. “The truth is that, just as we function now, you will function in the same way. It is . . . just another industry.”

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Casino alone won’t draw tourists

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce supports a casino in Sudbury if it is attached to a multipurpose facility.

“We feel that in order for there to be a relative economic spinoff for the community that a casino really becomes the adjunct to something else,” said Debbi Nicholson, president and CEO of the chamber.

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Casino experience provides the answer

If Peterborough’s casino decision was only about the amount of money that would flow in the answer would be simple: Bring it on.

A casino to be built here or in Cavan Monaghan Twp. is forecast to generate more than $4 million a year in gaming fees and property taxes.

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All about gambling

Casinos on the scale found in Brantford and proposed in Peterborough should be thought of more as gambling dens than entertainment complexes.

They aren’t attractions with unusual architecture, sideshows, hotels, convention centres and performances, the kind of pleasure palaces found in Las Vegas or on a smaller scale in Niagara Falls or even Casino Rama. They’re straightforward gambling venues, and all the activity is contained within rather than spilling out into neighbouring streets and buildings.

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Brantford, Thunder Bay happy with downtown casinos

Jim Comuzzi had his doubts when talk of a casino coming to Thunder Bay’s entertainment district started circulating.

The restaurant owner and vice-chair of the city’s Business Improvement Area isn’t a gambler and says he couldn’t help but wonder how much money locals stood to lose. Thirteen years later, Mr. Comuzzi isn’t as skeptical. In fact, he considers the casino a valuable community partner and a huge draw for the downtown.

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Requests for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) for Northern Ontario closed

Today, OLG marked the close of its Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) for the Ontario North Gaming Bundle.

In November 2012, OLG launched its first wave of RFPQs for the modernization of gaming in Ontario, which included one RFPQ each for the Ottawa Area, Eastern Ontario Gaming Bundle, and Northern Ontario Gaming Bundle. On March 7, 2013, the Ottawa area and Eastern Ontario RFPQs closed.

OLG will now undertake its due diligence in evaluating submissions for all three RFPQs and select service providers who are eligible to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents.

As part of the RFP process, pre-qualified service providers proposals can include building a new gaming site anywhere in a Gaming Zone, where there is support from the municipality. But successful proponents will need to work with the host municipality on the specifics of a facility, including the preferred location.

Where Gaming Zones have been bundled, a service provider’s proposal will need to be for the entire bundle, not for individual Gaming Zones or Gaming Sites. This means that service providers had to demonstrate their ability to take over specific day-to-day operations at multiple facilities.

In the coming months, OLG will launch RFPQs for the remaining Gaming Zones—some in Gaming Bundles.

Read the full announcement.

 

Prequalification deadline looms for casino proponents

The pre-qualification deadline for applications from proponents interested in operating five casinos in Northern Ontario, including a new gambling facility proposed for Kenora, is Thursday, March 14.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission spokesman Tony Bitonti acknowledged there is significant interest by established operators in Canada, the United States and Europe in the ‘Northern Ontario Bundle’ which includes three existing casinos in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay as well as two new casinos in North Bay and Kenora.

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OLG has reached agreements in principle for leases at all of its slots facilities

OLG has reached lease agreements in principle for its slots operations at Flamboro Downs and Georgian Downs.

OLG previously announced agreements in with 12 other site holders. With today’s announcement, OLG has now reached agreements in principle with all of its 14 sites.

OLG has provided the site holder with a Letter of Intent, which sets out the general intentions and business arrangements, subject to approvals, between OLG and the site.

“We are pleased to have reached lease agreements in principle for our slots operations at all of our 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 all site holders by March 25, 2013.

Pre-bids in for casino operator

Ontario Lottery and Gaming won’t reveal how many companies have applied to operate the planned casino in Peterborough or Cavan Monaghan Township after the first stage of the process closed this week.

“This is very commercially sensitive. It’s a very competitive nature; a lot of competition,” OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti said Friday. “The next time we’ll announce anything will be who the successful operator will be for that region.”

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First stage of casino process closes

While the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. won’t say exactly how many groups have applied to pre-qualify for the eastern Ontario casino tender, a spokesman said they are pleased with the number of interested parties.

The deadline for the request for pre-qualification (RFPQ) for the eastern Ontario bundle and Ottawa was Thursday, and Tony Bitonti, OLG spokesman, said the organization will now move to the next stage of the process, which will award a company the casino gaming rights to the region, which includes Kingston and Gananoque.

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OLG bids extended for North

Those bidding to be private operators of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., casinos in Northern Ontario will have a bit more time to show their hands.

Nearly one year after the modernization of lottery and gaming was announced, the OLG closed its Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) for the Ottawa Area and the Ontario East “gaming bundles” Thursday. However, the RFPQ closing date for Northern properties has been extended to Thursday.

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First wave of gaming Requests for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) comes to a close

Almost one year after it was launched, the modernization of lottery and gaming in Ontario is continuing with the close of two gaming RFPQs.

In November 2012, OLG launched its first wave of RFPQs for the modernization of gaming in Ontario, which included one RFPQ each for the Ottawa Area, Eastern Ontario Gaming Bundle, and Northern Ontario Gaming Bundle. On March 7, 2013, the Ottawa area and Eastern Ontario RFPQs came to a close. The Northern Ontario RFPQ will close on March 14, 2013.

OLG will now undertake its due diligence in evaluating submissions for the two RFPQs and select service providers who are eligible to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents.

As part of the RFP process, pre-qualified service providers proposals can include building new gaming site anywhere in a Gaming Zone, where there is support from the municipality. But successful proponents will need to work with the host municipality on the specifics of a facility, including the preferred location. 

Where Gaming Zones have been bundled, a service provider’s proposal will need to be for the entire bundle, not for individual Gaming Zones or Gaming Sites. This means that service providers demonstrate their ability to take over specific day-to-day operations at multiple facilities in a given region or geographic area of Ontario.

In the coming months, OLG will launch RFPQs for the remaining Gaming Zones – some in Gaming Bundles.

Read the full announcement

 

Potential operator known later this year

Location and scheme of a potential casino in North Bay won’t be discussed in earnest until an operator is chosen later this year.

Rod Phillips, president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., told city officials and business representatives Monday the process to choose an private operator will take most of this year.

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Casino may help spur growth

When Mike Harris was premier, the prospect of a casino coming to North Bay was a hot topic. Presentations and debate at city council and in the community at times became heated, as the public and councillors talked about either the financial benefits or the social ills associated with gambling.

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Economic development a good bet

The city’s share of potential casino revenue should be used for economic development, says Mayor Al McDonald.

The city can expect to receive a 5% share of overall slot machine revenue if a casino comes to North Bay. And McDonald says he would like to see that cash used to help boost the city’s economy.

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No plans to move OLG jobs, says Wynne

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said there are no plans to move OLG jobs from Sault Ste. Marie.

Wynne, during an exclusive interview with The Sault Star, said the Ontario government understands the importance of the OLG casino jobs – and the other related gaming industry jobs – to Sault Ste. Marie and its economy.

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Ajax slots staying put, for now

The slot machines will continue to operate at Ajax Downs for another three to five years while the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation decides the future of the casino.

OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti said the corporation has a lease agreement in principle with site owners. The current lease was set to expire at the end of March.

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Modernization could be lucky number seven for OLG

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has been an important figure throughout the province for many years. OLG has been apart of the Town of Innisfil since 2001, providing hundreds of jobs for people in the surrounding area. The economic benefit for being a host community has been quite substantial for the past 12 years. Georgian Downs has been a hotspot since its opening, benefiting the economy and tourism each year. A number of changes in technology, demographics, and shopping patterns have caused the OLG to restructure its current business model. Beginning in 2012 OLG has started modernizing its gaming corporation throughout Ontario.

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Sudbury council wants a casino – with the works

Sudbury city councillors are in agreement that they want a new casino for the city to be more than a casino.

At its Tuesday night meeting, council voted unanimously on a motion stating that the city is interested in a casino that comes with extras like a hotel, a convention centre or an Ontario Hockey League arena. The vote sets the stage for negotiations with the private company the province selects to run Sudbury’s casino.

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OLG reaches agreement in principle for lease at Ajax Downs

OLG is pleased to announce that it has reached a lease agreement in principle for its slots operations at Ajax Downs. 

OLG has provided the site holder with a Letter of Intent, which sets out the general intentions and business arrangements, subject to approvals, between OLG and the site. OLG previously announced it has reached agreements in principle for its slots operations with 11 other site holders.

“We are pleased to have reached lease agreements in principle for our slots operations at 12 of 14 sites,” said Rod Phillips, President and CEO of OLG.  “We continue to hold discussions with the remaining site holder and are hopeful that a positive outcome to those discussions is near for all facilities.”

OLG hopes to finalize the agreement with the site holder by March 15, 2013.

“We have longstanding and positive relationships with our site holders and look forward to working with them in the future,” said Phillips.

Back at the table

Collingwood appears to be back in the game.

Councillors weren’t keen on supporting a stand-alone 300 slot machine facility, but they appear to be willing to look at an integrated destination resort casino.

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Letter to the Editor – Ottawa Sun

Comments in Susan Sherring’s February 16th article are incorrect. OLG’s position has been consistent since our dialogue began with the City of Ottawa last year.

The City will have approval of the location of a casino. This has been made clear in a variety of public forums including: Mayor’s letter to Council, September 24th/12; OLG’s presentation to Council, October 03/12; and the City’s news release, October 10/12. The ongoing role of the City was further clarified in our correspondence to the City Manager, November 23/12. A number of these documents are available on the City of Ottawa’s website and have been reported in the media.

Location must be agreed upon jointly by three parties – City of Ottawa, OLG and a regulated private operator, once they are selected.

OLG is currently seeking operators through a transparent and competitive procurement process. This is underway in Ottawa and in eight other municipalities.

The selected private operator will take over operation of the OLG Slots at Rideau Carleton facility. Discussions on any changes they may propose will begin between the operator, the City of Ottawa and OLG after procurement is complete.

OLG and Ottawa have enjoyed a successful relationship. Since opening in 2000, our 250 employees at OLG Slots at Rideau Carleton have hosted 2 million visitors annually and helped generate over $45 million in revenue for the City. Like every OLG gaming facility, profits are used to support priorities like health care and community infrastructure.

Rod Phillips
OLG President and CEO

 

It’s a gamble, but city could win

It’s a gamble that could have a huge pay off for Belleville. But with every gamble, there are some who feel the city could elso roll craps.

It likely won’t be until autumn before the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announces what municipalities will be playing host to new casinos in the province, but The Friendly City seems to be among some of the most likely cities to get a facility and Mayor Neil Ellis says if that’s the case it can only bring positive spinoffs.

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City looking for input on new casino

Now that Peterborough City councillors have mapped out locations and talked numbers, they’re looking to find out how the community feels about bringing a casino to town.

During a meeting on March 5, the City is inviting the public to have their say on the issue. Staff need to know whether people in Peterborough feel the downtown is a suitable spot for a gaming facility, and how they feel about hosting a gambling a operation in general, says Malcolm Hunt, director of planning with the City.

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Casino wouldn’t increase crime: Chief

A new casino would likely have no impact on crime in Peterborough and would not require any additional police resources, city police Chief Murray Rodd said Wednesday.

“The impact is virtually nothing with respect to crime,” Rodd said, responding to a question after his presentation at the Downtown Business Improvement Area breakfast meeting. “It just doesn’t seem to have any real impact in terms of violence, assaults. It doesn’t seem to translate into additional work for the police.”

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Paul Godfrey talks casinos during visit to Brantford

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation chairman Paul Godfrey says Brantford has a strong casino that will retain its base of gamers as the provincial agency seeks to expand gambling revenues across Ontario.

The OLG has plans to expand Ontario’s gaming revenues by $1 billion by 2018 through attracting private-sector investment in five new casinos and existing facilities across the province.

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Veto power changes casino landscape

So, the compromise worked. Councillors voted to make Hamilton a “willing host” to a casino, picked Flamboro Downs as their choice of location, but agreed to look at other sites if a potential operator shows Flamboro isn’t viable.

Frankly, after almost a year of debate, it’s not unlike council’s original position of last April.

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Brantford Casino will endure: OLG Chair

With a handful of prospective private-sector bidders having already made the trip, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) chair Paul Godfrey trekked through the Brantford Casino Friday reinforcing the agency’s confidence in the facility’s future.

Godfrey toured the casino after meeting with Brantford Mayor Chris Friel, Ward 5 Coun. and finance committee chair David Neumann, CAO Ted Salisbury and director of economic development and tourism John Frabotta.

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Casino compromise: It’s Flamboro first

After months of heated, divisive and often nasty debate, councillors have made a unanimous decision that puts the casino question on the back burner for at least another year.

Councillors voted Thursday to designate Flamboro Downs as the preferred location for a casino — but agreed they’d ultimately consider other sites if private gaming operators can prove Flamboro isn’t viable.

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Province should leave Hamilton casino decisions to the city: Wynne

Ontario’s new premier says the province needs to stay out of casino talks and let municipalities like Hamilton make decisions for themselves.

“It’s a contentious issue,” said premier Kathleen Wynne on a conference call with local reporters Thursday afternoon. “Differences of opinion are evident in governments and in communities, and that’s what makes it contentious.”

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Casino boom starts with hotels: mayor

Three new hotel developments in the city are an early sign of a coming casino-related boom for Belleville, the city’s mayor says.

The Ontario government has chosen the Belleville-Quinte West district for a future casino, with a decision expected later this year, possibly by fall.

Read more.

Letter from Rod Phillips, OLG’s President and CEO to the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

Dear Mr. McLean:

I’m looking forward to attending your Chamber of Commerce meeting next week. Thank you again for the invitation to speak to the group.

In advance of next week, I thought it would be beneficial if I answered the comprehensive questions you posed just prior to the New Year.

Read the full text of Mr. Phillips’ Letter to the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.

OLG President & CEO Rod Phillips In The Media

OLG President and CEO Rod Phillips had another opportunity to reach out through the media to Ontarians to discuss key issues. On the morning of Monday, February 4, CBC’s Matt Galloway invited Mr. Phillips to the CBC Toronto studio to be a guest on its popular morning show Metro Morning. The lively discussion focused on the debate about a GTA gaming entertainment centre, OLG’s role in the process and where people can go to find out more information about Modernization.

Read the full interview transcript.

 To listen to the full interview, please visit cbc.ca.

 

Waterloo Region needs discussion about casinos

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the provincial agency responsible for the regulation of gaming, has initiated a new modernization plan that aims to maximize revenues to 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.

This is an important first step in the public debate. By having a full public dialogue on the pros and cons of this issue, the community and elected officials will have all the facts on which to make their decision.

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Downtown is natural fit for city casino

Downtown is Peterborough’s entertainment centre. Theatres, bars and restaurants have always clustered there, more noticeably and successfully in the past decade.

And while it has the ring of cliché, downtown really is the heart of the city. Of any city.

So if a casino comes to Peterborough, downtown is where it should be.

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Prime real estate for casino has conditional offer

If you’re in the gaming business, now is the time to start looking around for potential casino sites.

Companies interested in running area gaming sites are now submitting requests to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), says an OLG representative, which means it’s possible they’ll start searching out potential spots to expand or relocate facilities.

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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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Bingo Centre Partnerships a Vital Part of Charitable Funding

Across Ontario, local charities rely on charitable bingo and gaming centres as an important source of funds for the services they provide to their communities.

Recognizing how vital this local support is, OLG began a partnership seven years ago with charities and charitable gaming operators to revitalize the sector by providing new products to appeal to a broader clientele.

The result is today’s bingo centre is becoming a very different place from even a decade ago when charitable bingo and gaming started seeing a sharp decline.

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Toronto must deal with casino, transit: City manager

Despite the fact City Hall could be plunged into a mayoral byelection in the new year, the city’s top bureaucrat says council will need to weigh in on the future of transit in the city and whether to bet on a Toronto casino.

Those two major issues — explosive enough on their own — won’t be able to rest on the back burner pending the outcome of Mayor Rob Ford’s ongoing political predicament.

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Toronto City Manager, Joe Pennachetti, on the issues

While he wants to hear from residents, Mr. Pennachetti cites one key benefit in giving the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation the go-ahead to build a casino: If it yields about $100-million in revenue to the city per year, it could solve the municipality’s structural deficit.

“If a casino is done right, it doesn’t have to take away from our city and what we’re proud of. We’re not Las Vegas. We don’t want that moniker of being casino town,” he said. “But if it’s done right and we don’t impact our existing theatre and cultural scene, it’s possible to have something here.”

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Bundling casinos a joy for Gananoque

The way the mayor of Gananoque sees it, the casino location issue has swung back in her town’s favour.

At the end of November, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced it would “bundle” the northern and eastern gaming zones it had created only last spring.

The upshot is that any private casino operator coming to eastern Ontario (excluding Ottawa) will have to set up in three zones — in the Peterborough area, Belleville and either Kingston or Gananoque.

Read more

OLG prequalification process seeks private sector operator for Kenora casino and four other Northern Ontario gaming facilities

The second phase of a provincial selection process is underway to find a private sector company interested in operating five casinos in Northern Ontario, including a new gaming facility hotel/convention centre located in the Kenora area.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG) is following up on its request for Expressions of Interest from participating municipalities by releasing Requests for Pre-Qualification proposals to interested gaming companies.

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OLG begins lottery privatization process

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation began its process to modernize – or privatize – the province’s lottery industry.

It has issued a Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) to “pre-qualify” service providers for the day-to-day operations of lottery services.

Potential service providers which are interested are asked to submit applications to demonstrate their experience as it relates to the lottery business by April 4.

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Brockville joins casino fight

Brockville is backing Gananoque and the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands in their fight to keep the local casino.

City councillors have unanimously endorsed a resolution stating council “supports the current location in the Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands for the OLG Casino Thousand Islands.”

Read more

Building an innovative and modern lottery industry

Today, OLG began the process of pre-qualifying service providers for the day-to-day operations of lottery in Ontario. This is the next step forward in modernizing the province’s lottery industry.

Through a Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ), potential service providers are being asked to demonstrate their experience as it relates to the lottery business. This includes:

  • Success in developing customer driven growth strategies;
  • Ability to operate complex and dynamic businesses;
  • Access to the resources, tools and technology needed to operate a sustainable lottery business; and
  • Capacity to lead the transition of customers, retailers, employees, along with technology, to a new operating model.

“By modernizing our lottery business, we will increase efficiencies, expand options for lottery sales, and introduce new games and innovation to the system,” said Rod Phillips, OLG President and Chief Executive Officer. “We want to make playing the lottery more convenient and engaging for our customers.”

Eight million adults in Ontario played the lottery each year. But while the Ontario adult population has grown by 11 per cent over the past 10 years, the number of Ontarians playing lottery games on a regular basis has remained static.

By introducing new technologies and sales channels, OLG will enhance convenience and make the lottery experience more entertaining. This includes making it easier for customers to buy lottery tickets at grocery and drug store checkouts. Around 90 per cent of adult Ontarians shop monthly at grocery and drug stores yet only 9 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively, of OLG lottery revenue is generated at these locations.

In the future, OLG will continue its role in the conduct, management and oversight of lottery. This includes setting the overall strategy for lottery and managing the market by approving channel strategies and products.

OLG will also continue to prevent and mitigate the effects of problem gambling through its Responsible Gambling program, which is recognized internationally by the World Lottery Association’s certification program.

For more information on today’s RFPQ launch, read the backgrounder.

Barrie listens to casino debate tonight

The Downtown Barrie BIA would welcome a casino – if it’s small and would compliment a hotel/convention centre, says BIA managing director Craig Stevens.

Thursday night, Stevens will be at a special meeting to hear OLG officials talk about the next phase of modernizing the gambling industry.

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Pickering back in the casino lottery

Pickering made the right move for its residents by declaring itself a willing host for a casino.

Whether it truly wants one is another story, but the City in a 4-3 vote this week approved a motion by Councillor David Pickles stating the City is a willing host for an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation gaming facility. It also asked staff to look into the expected financial benefits and other impacts, and expressed support for revenue sharing among municipalities within the same gaming zone: Pickering, Whitby and Ajax.

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Casino question a gamble

The city wants to know if it’s time to hold ‘em or fold ‘em.

The question is whether to open a casino in downtown Barrie.

A public meeting in council chambers Thursday from 7 p.m to 9 p.m. will offer the public both a chance to hear from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG), and ask questions of the city’s committee members who are reviewing the notion of gambling in Barrie.

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Idea of Pickering casino revisited

The idea of hosting a new casino in Pickering is returning to council.

Councillor David Pickles will be introducing a motion at the council meeting on Monday, Dec. 10 requesting staff report back on the anticipated financial benefits and other impacts if Pickering were to host a casino. The motion would also express council’s support of revenue-sharing among Pickering, Ajax and Whitby, the three municipalities encompassed within the Province’s C3 gaming zone.

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Mayor vows to ‘do anything’ to keep casino in Gananoque

Erika Demchuk, mayor of Gananoque, knows that the future of her community’s casino is really out of her hands.

And while she didn’t support a passed motion this week to begin negotiations with a high-powered lobby group in an effort to help gather support to keep the OLG Thousand Islands Charity Casino in Gananoque, she said she’ll do all she can to keep the facility right where it is rather than in rival Kingston.

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Hudak wants to get the Ontario government out of the gambling business

It’s time the Ontario government got out of the gambling business, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Monday, hinting that he also wants to privatize liquor sales.

The cash-strapped government, facing a $14.4-billion deficit, needs to re-evaluate everything it does to get out of businesses that are better run by the private sector and instead concentrate on services like health care and education, added Hudak.

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Bundling Gaming Zones Will Lead To Greater Efficiencies In Ontario’s Gaming System

In May of this year, OLG initiated a Request for Information (RFI) process for its land-based gaming operations. The purpose of the RFI was to gather input from potential qualified service providers for the day-to-day operation of gaming in Ontario.

“We received more than 100 responses from a wide range of proponents,” said Rod Phillips, President and CEO, OLG. “The RFI process has provided us with a better understanding of the complexity of the change we are making as an organization.”

During the RFI process, a number of respondents told OLG that grouping some of the 29 identified Gaming Zones into Gaming Bundles would help OLG to more effectively manage the gaming market in Ontario. They also said it would create opportunities for service providers to realize revenue and cost synergies by operating multiple facilities in a given region.

As a result, OLG today announced it has grouped eight previously announced Gaming Zones into two Gaming Bundles and is asking interested service providers to demonstrate their ability to operate multiple facilities in Eastern and Northern Ontario.

It’s important to note that the bundling of Gaming Zones does not mean that current or proposed facilities, or proposed Gaming Zones, would be merged. But rather that one service provider could operate facilities in more than one Gaming Zone.

The announcement of the new Gaming Bundles was included in the launch of three separate Requests for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ), one for the Gaming Zone in the Ottawa area, and one for each of the two bundled areas mentioned above.

Qualified service providers interested in bidding on one of the two new Gaming Bundles are required to submit proposals on the entire bundle, not on individual Gaming Zones or Gaming Sites contained within a Gaming Bundle.

OLG intends to issue separate RFPQs for the remaining Gaming Zones, some in Gaming Bundles, over the next several months.

For more information on today’s RFPQ launch, read the backgrounder.

For more information on the location of OLG’s proposed Gaming Zones, view the map of Gaming Zones.

For more information on Gaming Zones, read ‘the science behind OLG’s gaming zones’.

 

Cards laid out for casino bidders

A company will rake in $30 million annually — at the bare minimum — to run a new Ottawa-area casino that could have up to 600 seats at table games and 2,000 slots.

A call Friday by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to pre-qualify potential bidders for the request for proposals means it’s officially game on for the lucrative contract.

Read more

Casinos will be ‘bundled’

Any gaming company looking to set up a casino in Kingston or surrounding area will also have to set up two others in the eastern Ontario region.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced in a release Friday that it was moving to the Request for Pre-Qualification stage as it continues its casino modernization process.

Read more

OLG bundles North

Ontario Lottery and Gaming is seeking a single operator for casinos sites across the North.

Northern Ontario’s five gaming zones — North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Kenora — have been bundled together as one bidding opportunity under OLG’s request for pre-qualifications which was issued Friday.

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Council approves new revenue agreement with OLG

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has made Chatham-Kent an offer we can’t refuse.

Chatham-Kent council has signed a new agreement with the corporation that runs the slots at the Dresden Raceway. Under the agreement, the municipality will receive 5.25% of the net slot revenue – up from about 5%.

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City holds weak hand in talks with OLG

 

Ottawa’s city council is finally being forced to face up to reality: the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has little intention of entering into new negotiations over how the province would share its take from any future casino with the city.

Nor does the OLG plan on splitting any of the booty that comes from gaming tables.

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New agreement a huge boon to Ajacians

Revenue-sharing deal between Town, OLG

As long there are slot machines in Ajax, the cash will continue to flow to the Town in a new revenue-sharing deal with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. It’s a big relief to Ajacians worried about the certainty of the money, an estimated $7 million in the first year of the agreement.

In fact, the Town now has a guarantee that revenue from the facility will not go down.

Ajax council on Nov. 12 approved the contract with OLG, which takes effect April 1, 2013.

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Wasaga debates slots facility site

WASAGA BEACH – Council has determined four sites they will recommend to host a gaming facility.

During Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, councillors ranked potential sites for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s proposed 300-slot machine facility for Zone C7.

The Planning Department staff reviewed eight potential sites and two more parties came forward expressing interest in hosting the gaming facility, resulting in the list of 10 locations council reviewed.

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Village Formalizes OLG Deal

Point Edward has entered into a formal revenue sharing agreement with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.  The village will continue to receive 5.25 per cent of quarterly slots revenue.  Village CAO Jim Burns says the formal, written document expands upon a previous “handshake” agreement with the OLG.

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Council split on preferred casino location

WASAGA BEACH – Council is split on whether or not a casino should be located in the east or west.

When asked to rank their preferred locations, if a casino is to be built in Wasaga Beach, three council members gave priority to properties on River Road West and three gave priority to properties located on Highway 26.

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A casino for Toronto a good gamble?

Over the next weeks and months citizens of Toronto will decide on whether or not the city accepts a new casino within its boundaries.

As president of Carpenters Local 27, an organization that has been active for 130 years in Toronto, I believe it’s both relevant and proper that we contribute our voice and experience to this debate.

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OLG Mulls Idea of Casino Outside Toronto

While all the proposals for a new Toronto casino thus far have seen the resort located in the core of the city, the Chief Executive of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Rod Phillips has now said that the OLG “is not wedded to Toronto”.

According Phillips, the OLG is also open to the idea of locating the planned casino outside the city, and said that there could even be advantages to constructing the casino at any of the areas in the running, namely Vaughan, Mississauga or Markham.

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OLG changes its tune on city casino

After nine months of intensely wooing Toronto, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. says it’s “not wedded” to the city as a casino host and might pull more revenue out of another GTA location.

In what seemed to be a warning to Torontonians to get behind the casino push or miss a huge economic opportunity, OLG chief executive Rod Phillips made the argument Tuesday to a packed business luncheon.

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Wasaga to Ask for Casino

Wasaga Beach councillors think the town should welcome a 300 slot gaming facility.

At Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting — members of council voted 6 to 1 to let the OLG know they want the town to be a host site for a casino in the area.

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Public Consultations on Casinos Coming Soon

After a day-long debate Monday, the executive committee has given the green light to public consultations on the prospect of opening a casino in Toronto. Those consultations will begin soon: a report on the results is due back at City Hall by February or March.

Unfortunately, however, Torontonians won’t get to find out exactly how much the city stands to make from a casino before they’re asked to give their opinions on whether we should allow one.

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Casino would bring cash to Toronto, but how much?

The City of Toronto will consult with residents about the potential development of a casino, though it is not yet clear precisely how much revenue could be generated for the city if the concept were to move forward.

The executive committee agreed Monday night to arrange for public consultations to be held in the months ahead.

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Ontario Police Chiefs say no link between gaming facilities and increases in crime

According to new video testimonials from a number of OntarioPolice Chiefs, there has been no evidence that a casino’s presence increases crime over the two decades that casino gaming has been available in Ontario.

“We have an excellent relationship with the OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway,” said Dennis Poole, Chief of Police for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. “Certainly from a policing perspective it has not been an issue and the municipality has benefited from the slots being in Dresden. We average about 20 calls per year to that facility, but that is no more than the average mall or average large department store in our community.”

The video clips include a statement by Brantford Police Chief, Jeff Kellner. Prior to the opening of OLG Casino Brantford in 1999, Kellner recalls concerns were common that a gaming facility would increase the local crime rate, but notes that those concerns never materialized.

“We were concerned as a police service,” said Kellner. “But the overall impact, as it relates to crime, has been very insignificant in our community.”

This has also been the experience of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who provide policing services inside many gaming facilities across the province.

“We have not seen an increase in crime,” said OPP Chief Superintendent, Fred Burtucca. “In fact, the facilities are very well run. We have a very close relationship with the security and surveillance people located at the site and we’re able to respond immediately to any situation that happens.”

 

Torontonians will have their say on a casino, but they won’t know exactly how much money is in it for the city when they do.

Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee gave the green light Monday to formal consultations on whether to embrace a new gambling palace – before the province and the city reach a crucial revenue-sharing agreement.

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Council gambling on gaming choices

Barrie residents could be flush with choices to comment on a downtown casino.

City staff have provided councillors with a memo detailing how citizens can use Barrie’s website, mail and e-mail, as well as attend a special meeting to voice their opinions on a gambling site as part of a hotel/convention/conference centre in the core.

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Wasaga council busy

Busy times ahead for Wasaga Beach council.

Councillors will discuss public comment from the two casino meetings held in the town and from the survey that’s on the town website at a Committee of the Whole meeting next Tuesday evening.

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Worth the risk?

Councillor Joe Gardhouse believes it would be a mistake for Collingwood Council to turn down a casino.

Council will have the opportunity to say yes or no to the casino question on Monday.

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Toronto will benefit if it approves a city casino

If Toronto could extract the right deal from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), revenues from a casino in downtown Toronto could permanently fill Toronto’s structural deficit.

That was the word Monday from Toronto’s City Manager Joe Pennachetti, following the release of his report on the economic impact of a casino on Toronto’s economy. The report will be going to Mayor Rob Ford’s Executive Committee Nov. 5 and from there will likely be public consultations before council finally deals with the question of whether to allow casino gambling – probably in February or March.

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Casino would cure city’s fiscal ills, report says

If Toronto welcomes a new destination casino, the municipal government could win a jackpot big enough to fix its money woes for good, the city’s top bureaucrat says.

City manager Joe Pennachetti’s office released a highly anticipated report Monday that estimated the municipality could reap as much as $195-million per year – on top of a one-time sale or lease of city-owned land – from an integrated resort casino near the waterfront.

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City of Toronto releases reports on new GTA gaming facility

Today, two reports were released by the city of Toronto on the benefits and considerations of an integrated gaming entertainment centre in Toronto.

 “Both the reports prepared by the City Manager’s Office and Ernst & Young confirm that an integrated gaming entertainment centre in Toronto would create thousands of jobs and bring in tens of millions of dollars in revenue,” said Rod Phillips, President & CEO of OLG. “Public consultations are the necessary next step and we’re pleased they have been recommended. OLG has been clear from the outset that we will only go to municipalities that want a facility. So far, 36 other communities across Ontario have expressed interest in either continuing to host, or becoming a new host community’.

You can view Toronto City Manager’s report and the Ernst & Young report on the City of Toronto website.

Casino could earn city $168m a year

City manager Joe Pennachetti says a casino could be the solution to Toronto’s annual budget woes — if it can convince the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to pay the city a premium for hosting a large-scale development downtown.

Signalling that the current revenue-sharing formula the OLG has in place is unacceptable, city staff have drawn up two alternative scenarios for a downtown “integrated entertainment complex” that could pour $106-million to $168-million a year into municipal coffers.

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Taking a gamble

Deal Barrie in for a downtown casino?

City councillors will consider a motion Monday to conduct an online survey about establishing a gaming site, with slot machines and gambling tables, as part of a hotel/ convention/conference centre in the core.

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Gaming sites good for local economies

Re: Keep a casino out of this region — Oct. 24

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. wants to ensure that communities have the information they need to encourage dialogue and make informed decisions, based on facts.

The fact is, a majority of the gaming corporation’s customers are educated, middle to high-income earners who play responsibly. Your editorial repeats an often-cited claim about the customers who play our games. However, this information is based on a very limited study completed close to 10 years ago. In their 2004 study, The Demographic Sources of Ontario Gaming Revenue, Robert Williams and Richard Wood themselves acknowledge the limitations of their findings, saying they are based on a very small sample size of 32 problem gamblers.

We provide a form of entertainment and we want our customers to use an affordable portion of their disposable income to play our games. We do not want problem gamblers to use our products or play in our facilities.

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Business community shows support for casino

Business community members voiced a strong desire to have Wasaga council approve the proposed casino during a public consultation meeting.

Nearly 300 members of the community headed to the RecPlex on Wednesday, Oct. 24 to hear from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming, ask questions, and address council members about the proposed 300-slot machine facility.

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Waterfront Toronto opposed to Port Lands as casino site

Toronto’s Port Lands is no place to put a casino, says Waterfront Toronto, the agency responsible for transforming the sprawling industrial site into a mixed-use community.

The lakeside area at the foot of the Don River is one of a handful of sites frequently mentioned as a possible location for a casino. Mayor Rob Ford has said he favours the Port Lands or Exhibition Place because as a landlord, the city would receive additional revenue.

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The science behind OLG’s gaming zones

As part of its Modernization Plan, OLG identified 29 Gaming Zones where there are existing gaming facilities and where there could be new facilities. These Zones are geographic areas where regulated private-sector providers will be allowed to operate a single gaming facility, subject to approvals.

The Gaming Zones will help ensure that 29 gaming facilities are located in areas of the province that will bring gaming entertainment closer to customers, while ensuring the facilities do not compete directly with each other.

The Gaming Zones are not simply lines on a map, but are the result of a study to determine the best areas for gaming inOntario. OLG looked at characteristics (age, gender, income, etc.) of its customers and OLG Winners’ Circle data and analyzed this information using a gravity model to determine the Gaming Zones.

Originally developed by Dr. David Huff at theUniversityofTexasin the 1970s, the gravity model is a common approach used by retailers throughout the world to determine the optimal placement of stores. The model predicts the probability a customer will visit a particular site given its attractiveness, the travel distance to the site and the distance and attractiveness of competing sites.

The final boundaries of the Gaming Zones may change as a result of local needs or information OLG receives during its procurement process. OLG first introduced the concept of Gaming Zones in a June, 7, 2012 news release. Gaming Zone maps can be found here.

Casino would be a jackpot for Toronto

If negotiated smartly, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti says Toronto taxpayers could reap the benefit of $500-million annually in new revenue for city coffers.

And that’s why Mammoliti, who has been a proponent of this concept for years, said that if he has a say, the new Toronto casino resort would be located on the grounds of the CNE.

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Flamboro slots pay city $1.16m

The city’s coffers are more than $1 million richer, courtesy of a payment from OLG.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation issued close to $1.16 million in nontax gaming revenue to the city Friday for hosting the slots at Flamboro Downs.

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Casino Invite OLG

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation would be happy to come to Sudbury to answer questions from concerned citizens regarding a new casino development.

All it needs is an invitation from the city.

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Town, TLTI working together on casino

Gananoque and the Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands are hoping that by working together with a united front it will help keep the Thousand Islands OLG Charity Casino here.

A joint meeting between both councils from Gananoque and TLTI last week was set to approve an investment profile for potential investors in the casino as it moves from a public to a private corporation.

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Concrete casino proposals expected in January

The city should know by early next year which developers are interested in building a casino in Greater Sudbury.

Ian Wood, the city’s director of economic development, said the latest indication from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is a request for proposals (RFP) should be issued sometime in January. And the RFPs will include detailed proposals of not only who wants to build in Sudbury, but also what they want to build and where.

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Casino debate continues in Hamilton

If the 70 people who turned out for a Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce luncheon is any indication, they wouldn’t mind having a casino in Hamilton.

Mayor Bob Bratina, the keynote speaker at the Oct. 4 event at the Powerhouse Restaurant, conducted an informal vote on whether the city should pursue a casino.

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Councillor: ‘Be fair’ on casino

Councillor Ana Bailao says she hasn’t decided yet whether a casino is a good bet. Bailao was the lone member of the Toronto and East York community council not to give a speech Wednesday slamming a downtown casino

“I’m definitely keeping an open mind on the issue,” Bailao told colleagues toward the end of the five-hour meeting. “I honestly think we need more information on the issue and I truly want this information to help me make my decision because my decision is not made.

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Casino vote passes, but process questioned

Ottawa city council voted in favour of signalling to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation its interest in a casino, but many councillors expressed frustration with OLG and the rules it has established for the process.

OLG may have as many as five groups bidding for a casino in the Ottawa area, but the provincial gaming corporation won’t identify the private operators or the locations being discussed.

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Councillors want to gamble on Ottawa casino

After repeatedly saying that he would prefer to see a new casino in the city’s core, Mayor Jim Watson backed a bid to ask the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission to consider a casino expansion at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway.

On Oct. 2, the finance and economic development committee indicated it supports in principle the idea of looking at bringing a new casino to Ottawa.

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Options narrowed for casino input

City councillors on the brand-new gaming subcommittee have agreed that a combination of phone polls and community forums is the best way to gauge the public’s interest in a casino.

The five members of the subcommittee — Mayor Bob Bratina and councillors Sam Merulla, Terry Whitehead, Rob Pasuta and Judi Partridge — voted Tuesday to pursue both avenues of public engagement.

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Meeting exposes casino divide

Politicians, pundits and members of the public came out swinging at a special community council meeting on casinos Wednesday night.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti called the meeting “illegal” and said the casino debate should be opened to the whole city and not just the Toronto and East York councillors who organized the forum.

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Unions support exploring Toronto casino

When a pro-casino industry group launched a new website Wednesday, its leaders were joined by two surprising bedfellows: The Canadian Auto Workers union and the Service Employees International Union.

The presence of the CAW raised enough eyebrows around city hall that, before the Canadian Gaming Association could hold its 4 p.m. news conference, the CAW’s director of political action sent an e-mail to mollify 16 generally pro-labour councillors.

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Full house for casino battle

The debate over a Toronto casino anted up Wednesday.

Councillors on the Toronto and East York Community Council got a largely anti-casino earful Wednesday night while Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti dismissed the whole meeting as “illegal.”

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Council decides to deal OLG in

Despite many councillors’ very vocal misgivings, city council decided Wednesday afternoon that Ottawa should have a new casino.

The 19-5 vote to tell the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to seek private-sector bids to build a new casino here was closer than the number suggests: many of the votes in favour of the idea came from councillors who warned the city staffers who’ll work with the OLG to treat the provincial agency and its plans with suspicion.

Casino committee gets off on the right foot

It’s careful, it’s measured and it’s not too expensive. The biggest question is whether it’s enough.

The city’s gaming subcommittee’s first decision — about ways to garner community input on the critical casino decision — is a reasonable one. It falls far short of the sweeping nature of a referendum, but it makes it clear our elected officials understand the seriousness of gauging community support for a casino in Hamilton, regardless of where it may or may not end up.

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Quick vote a bad deal

The votes are in and it seems clear Ottawa city council is poised to give the green light for a new casino in the nation’s capital.

Where it will go, what it will look like, and what it will include, well, it seems this council is ready to gamble on all of that.

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OLG doesn’t hold all the cards

Listen to the clash of claims on city council and you won’t come close to understanding what’s really going on in the current casino debate.

Some councillors say that voting for a new gambling facility this week would really give them a chance to get more information. Others act as if the entire issue is already out of their hands.

Electronic games coming

Stafford Bingo Country will be getting a 21st-century facelift some time in early 2013, as the venerable gaming establishment gets set to move to an “e-gaming” model of play.

According to Tom Aikins, regional manager at Boardwalk Gaming and Entertainment, the parent company that also owns bingo halls in Barrie, Penetanguishene and Hawkesbury, the hall was recently bumped up to the first wave of 15 locations across the province to receive the electronic machines from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). This means that as early as January, players can expect to be using computers to take some of the manual labour out of the game, although not entirely.

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Bill’s passage would mean referendums on new casinos

The decision as to whether a casino can be built in Kingston may ultimately be decided by residents if a current bill at Queen’s Park is passed.

Monte McNaughton, the member of provincial parliament for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, tabled a private member’s bill in the spring that would make it necessary for a municipality to hold a referendum before a casino can be built.

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Watson’s casino wager the right call

Despite the ethical hand-wringing that will inevitably accompany the mayor’s announcement last week that Ottawa will entertain any proposals from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to build a casino in the city, it is the right way to move forward on this issue.

Casinos have been a reality in Ontario since 1994, in the capital region since 1996 and there have been slot machines at the Rideau Carleton Raceway since 2000, meaning residents of this city have had plenty of opportunity to gamble for more than a decade. Getting squeamish about gambling at this point is a little naive – gaming arrived in Ontario nearly 20 years ago.

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Revitalized bingo centres to feature electronic versions of popular games

OLG is teaming up with the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association (OCGA) and the Commercial Gaming Association of Ontario (CGAO) to revitalize the charitable bingo and gaming industry in Ontario.

Complementing traditional paper-based bingo and other games, OLG is using modern technology to develop and introduce new products to invigorate the bingo experience and attract new players to charitable bingo centres across thehttp://www.modernolg.ca/olgs-plan/ province.

The new product offerings will include: Electronic Bingo (eBingo), Break Open Ticket Dispensers, Electronic Instants, Rapid Draw Bingo, and Electronic Shutterboard.

Over eight years of operation, this initiative is expected to deliver about $475 million in much-needed funding to Ontario charities, while also helping to sustain hundreds of part-time jobs.

So far, this initiative has been successfully implemented at six bingo centres across Ontario. Together, those centres have raised more than $43 million to support over 500 local charities – which include children’s groups, and environmental and health services organizations.

In July, Boardwalk Gaming Centre Sudbury, one of the six initial bingo centres, was the first to reach the $10 million milestone. The increased ability to draw customers is benefiting the 98 community organizations that fundraise at this facility.

One of those organizations is the Banque d’Aliments Sudbury Food Bank. As a result of its charitable gaming partnership with the Boardwalk Gaming Centre,  Banque d’Aliments Sudbury Food Bank is able to provide over one million items of food annually to individuals and families who need support in the Sudbury area.

OLG recently launched a public awareness campaign including print and radio advertisements, to inform Ontarians about its plans to revitalize the charitable bingo and gaming industry.

For more information about this initiative, visit “How Will Charitable Gambling Change?”.

Kingston casino study lays out strong economic hand, New jobs, more spending

A new study on gambling in Kingston suggests a casino represents a winning hand for the local economy.

The study, commissioned by the city’s economic development agency KEDCO, looked at the potential economic impact if Kingston were to host either a stand-alone or resort style casino. The results may play into the hands of supporters of a casino who say it would give Kingston a welcome boost in tourism, jobs and local spending.

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Casino development clears first hurdle in Kenora

City council has voted to support a casino development in Kenora, so long as it’s a “destination.”

A resolution to continue discussions with the province regarding a casino development passed with a 5-2 vote on Thursday, provided the 300-slot gambling venue is connected to a hotel and conference centre. Council instructed city staff to begin searching for suitable real estate and it intends to begin lobbying the province to determine funding availability to absorb the anticipated social cost.

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Committee supports Ottawa casino

If full council also gives its support, it would allow the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to issue a request for proposals this fall inviting proponents to submit bids.

Once the RFP process is completed and a winning bidder is selected, the public would have the opportunity to provide more feedback at a future city committee meeting in

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Casino: location, location, location

The casino debate has ignited a fire we have not seen in Hamilton since the great Pan Am stadium debacle. Once again the city is split down the middle on a key issue involving not only downtown, but the rest of this city. No wonder. The record shows why Hamiltonians have little confidence in how this city conducts its business.

That seems to be changing of late and we have to give credit where credit is due. There appears to be more synergy than ever between city staff, elected officials and business.

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Economic benefits to gaming: OLG boss

Municipalities are considering their interest in hosting a new OLG gaming facility. Hamilton, which already hosts a gaming facility, is discussing its role in OLG’s modernization plan. OLG wants to ensure communities have the information they need to encourage dialogue and make informed decisions.

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