Comment 83369

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted December 02, 2012 at 23:54:52

Given that the Ottawa city council voted 19 to 5 in favour of a new casino on October 31, 2012 and it has a pre-existing slots facility at Rideau Carleton Raceway, the Ottawa casino decision-making process has become the “canary in a coal mine” for Hamilton city council in deciding whether to vote “Yes” or “No” to a casino and, either directly or indirectly, for the future of Flamboro Downs.

This Ottawa Sun article titled “Game on for Ottawa casino bidders” by Jon Willing and published yesterday reports that OLG issued the request for pre-qualifications of bidders for the Ottawa casino on Noven=mber 30, 2012 and the pre-qualification stage will close on March 7, 2013.

Here is the deal being offered by OLG to the potential bidders for the Ottawa casino: -a licence to operate 2,000 slot machines and 600 gaming tables -a $30 Million annual management fee -70% of all gaming revenues above a revenue threshold suggested by the casino operators in their bids -20% of all gaming revenues generated from VIP customers from outside of Canada -all revenues from restaurants, concerts, and retail activities in the casino complex -the option of running the casino at Rideau Carleton Raceway or moving it to a more “convenient location” in the gaming zone

Here is the deal being offered by OLG to the City of Ottawa: -a share of slot gaming revenues (approximately 5.25%) -no share of table gaming revenues -city council must sign off on a new location for a casino

Here is the deal being offered by OLG to existing OLG employees at Rideau Carleton Raceway slots: -a transition to the casino operator who must employ them for at least 12 months

Although the article is silent on the future of the horse racing employees and suppliers of Rideau Carleton Raceway, it is clear that the OLG partnership with the horse racing tracks is over when the Slots At Racetracks Program ends on March 31, 2013.

The upshot of the Ottawa casino decision is the Ottawa city council is allowing OLG to choose the casino operator and the casino location (even though the city would still have to sign off on the final casino plan) and, in addition to 2,000 slot machines for which the city will receive a 5.25% share of revenues, council is inviting also 600 gaming tables into their city without receiving any compensation. Even without factoring in other issues such as the social costs of gambling and the tenuous future of the local horse racing industry, Ottawa city council has already made a bad deal on the casino file. It is incumbent upon Hamilton city council and city staff to take the time to obtain sufficient information to make a thoroughly considered decision that is best for our community and not to blindly follow the path foisted upon the City of Ottawa by OLG.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2012-12-02 23:56:55

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