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Go-ahead given to modernize gaming

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The Ontario government has received a report from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) that proposes modernization of the system, an increase in its revenues by more than $1 billion a year, and the creation of 2,300 net new jobs in the gaming industry and nearly 4,000 additional jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors by 2017-18.

With Internet-based gaming growing, a higher Canadian dollar, and U.S. border communities building their own gaming sites, our gaming system has to change.

These reforms will modernize gaming in Ontario by allowing safe, responsible access to gaming opportunities.

The government has directed the OLG to implement a number of the proposals:

  • reconfigure the number of gaming sites and tailor the types of gaming activities made available at each site;
  • launch multi-lane sales of lottery tickets at major retail outlets, including grocery stores;
  • increase operational efficiencies by expanding the role of the private sector;
  • stop annual payments to the horse racing industry by ending the Slots at Racetracks program on March 31, 2013, and allowing slot facilities to be located more strategically;
  • implement a new fee model for municipalities hosting gaming sites; and
  • allow one new casino in the GTA, subject to an OLG business case and municipal approval.

The government also will enhance its responsible gambling programming.

These initiatives will allow OLG to meet the demands of a changing gaming marketplace.

“We are focused, more than ever, on balancing the budget while continuing to provide the best education and health care in the world,” said Finance minister Dwight Duncan.

“Modernizing OLG’s operations and business model is an example of how we are ensuring our assets are delivering the greatest value to taxpayers,” he added.

OLG is the biggest non-tax revenue generating Crown agency in Ontario, and the largest gaming organization—and jurisdiction—in North America, with 27 gaming sites and 10,000 lottery points of sale.

In July, 2010, the government directed OLG to undertake a review of its land-based gaming operations and lottery distribution network to see how revenue from these could be optimized.

The government’s plan to transform how OLG does business is a result of this review.

Eight million people in Ontario play lotteries at least once every year, and 2.7 million Ontarians went to an OLG gaming site at least once last year.

OLG generated $2 billion in net revenue for the province in 2010-11.

Since 1975, OLG lotteries, and OLG Slots and Casinos have generated more than $28 billion for Ontario.

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