Projected Gambling Plan Benefits Ontario
Ontario provincial officials discussed internet gambling extensively on 12 March. The province plans to expand both online and land gambling in a 6 year plan which could yield as much as Cdn$ 1.3 million in provincial tax revenues.
Provincial finance minister Dwight Duncan said, a “socially responsible and secure internet gaming site” run by Ontario Lottery and Gaming will be online by 2013. Duncan believes a responsible gaming site will serve as a buffer in terms of cash lost to foreign based internet casinos.”
Paul Godfrey Ontario Lottery and Gaming chairman pointed out that provincial laws will enable citizens from Ontario to purchase lottery tickets online and at their local Wal-Mart and will also enable them to wager at a new Toronto-area land-based casino. He also mentioned that “underperforming” land gaming facilities will be closed by the government. In return new facilities will be opened that’s nearer to potential punters, meaning that slots will be expanded beyond the racetracks.
In terms of the revenue-sharing agreement with racetracks, they will receive a share of the land casino slot profits which translates into Cdn$ 345 million per annum. However, the horse racing industry warned that this move will cause thousands of job losses. Godfrey also mentioned that gambling modernization is important to Ontario, since foreign based internet casinos and dwindling U.S. traffic affects OLG’s revenues – each year Cdn$2 billion ends up in the province’s coffers.
Godfrey mentioned that the 6 year plan will yield an additional $4.6 billion, help create 2,300 new jobs in the gaming industry and 4,000 service industry jobs at hotels, restaurants, entertainment and retail industries.
As Minister Duncan stated, “It’s about jobs, and it’s about updating a Crown corporation that – as we pointed out – has a strategy that was designed in the early 1990s in a very, very different world.”
With regard to the private sector’s role, the OLG aims to expand it by having private operators manage all its facilities, it will take over the remaining 4,000 gaming employees still working for OLG and finance its expansion from 27 facilities to 29 by 2017-18. Godfrey concluded that the private sector’s assistance would be needed for the new land casino in the Greater Toronto Area and maybe in Ottawa.[addtoany]
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