OLG Changes Generate Higher Revenue

Municipalities that host gambling operations have benefited since the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation changed its revenue sharing formula. For example, Chatham-Kent received $737,000 last year compared to $683,000 the previous year from its Dresden racino. Now the OLG may be seeking private sector operators to bid on new casino operations.

Two years ago, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced a modernization plan allowing private sector operators to bid on developing facilities within six gaming zones across the province. Since then, provincial leadership and internal operations have changed at OLG. Among the changes, the sliding scale for non-tax gaming revenue was raised by .25 percent for hosting a slots facility and by 4 percent for revenue from gaming tables. “It is a better deal for host municipalities,” said OLG spokesman Don Pister.

Chatham-Kent received $683,000 in 2011-2012 and $737,000 the following year from slots operations at the Dresden horseracing track. “It’s wasn’t really a reflection of business, which remained pretty constant at Dresden, but very much a benefit of the change in formula,” Pister said. He added from October to December 2014, the Dresden Slots generated $182,625 for Chatham-Kent, and since April 2001 it has provided the municipality more than $8.6 million in non-tax gaming revenue. Pister said 30 slots were added in December 2013, raising the total to 148 slots; there are no table games. The facility employs 85 people.

However, Don Shropshire, Chatham-Kent chief administrative officer, said, “We’ve been informed there is going to be some sort of request for proposal. That would be looking for private sector operators to bid on the casino operation.” Noted Pister, “When we’re talking about private operators, it’s the day-to-day operations. Overall policy for gaming will continue to be set by the province and oversight of that will fall to the OLG.”

Shropshire said the slot machine facility “might remain in Dresden, or it might be there are other factors they bring to the table that they’d want to switch. But that would just be speculation.”

Pister said there is no timeframe in place for issuing RFPs. “Currently we’re in the final phases of vendor selection for the East gaming bundle. We expect by middle of this year to announce a successful proponent for that region.”