Comment 91200

By Croupier (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 08:50:53

The Greenbelt Act comes up for review in 2015. The current OLG leases expire 2016-2018.

Despite the hankering for intrigue, this contractual "change" was visible to anyone who cared to read the news, as Mr. Richardson points out. Hamilton Community News:

Mar 11, 2013: "OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti said the preliminary arrangement will allow OLG to be the tenant of Flamboro Downs, and Great Canadian Gaming Corporation the landlord of the property. The current lease arrangement between the two entities is set to expire March 31, 2013. 'If we didn’t get this done, (OLG) would have been in an illegal position with the owners,' said Bitonti. Bitonti couldn’t provide financial details of the tentative arrangement until it is finalized. The idea is to have an agreed upon deal by March 25. He did say the lease follows the terms of the other lease arrangements OLG has made with track owners across the province at between three to five years. In addition, there is a 'transfer' clause within the agreement that will allow private business that takes over the gaming facility lease to relocate the venue to another location, including downtown Hamilton."

This was was telegraphed during an OLG open session on Nov 9 2012: "The City enters into an amended Municipality Contribution Agreement (MCA) with OLG (same agreement, with different location address if the facility moves)"

And incidentally, it's not just Hamilton. The "transfer clause" appears to be as standard as the OLG's 3-5 year operating license.

Oct 19, 2012: "Under the government’s plan to modernize the gaming industry, sites like Grand River Raceway could see an appointed operations contractor choosing to move to another location and municipality which would effectively end the revenue stream for the Township."

Oct 19, 2012: “We’re trying to get a short-term lease – two to three years – that will be transferrable to the private sector operator,” Bitonti said. “We’re very confident we’ll get it. So when the private-sector operator is chosen, we can say to them, ‘OK, the lease is now yours.’ They can decide whether they want to keep (the temporary facility) at Sudbury Downs, or move it to another location closer to Sudbury.”

Nov 1, 2012: “This doesn’t mean that it’s the end, right?” he asked the mayor. Dunlop responded to the agreement with OLG is a fairly strong indication of the provincial body’s desire to keep the slots in Hanover, allowing for the outside chance that the private group that will take over day-to-day operations of the casino sometime in the next two years could want to move to a different location.

Jan 11, 2013: "The OLG’s lease with the Elora racetrack ends March 31, and after that they’ll operate on a short-term revenue sharing agreement that promises to be less lucrative for the raceway. Eventually, that lease may be sold to a private operator who can decide to keep running the slots operation, expand it, or move to another location within the gaming zone."

Feb 28, 2013: "Whoever is chosen to run Ajax Downs would 'take over operations at Ajax Downs. They would be the day-to-day operators,' Mr. Bitonti said. The operator would make the decision on where a facility would be, he added. 'They could stay in Ajax, expand in Ajax or they could relocate,' he said. There is a process if the operator decides to relocate, Mr. Bitonti noted. The operator would have to ensure the move is feasible, as the operator would be paying to construct a new facility. The municipality where the facility would move to would have to be a willing host, and 'the OLG would have to put the final stamp of approval on it. All three parties would have to be in agreement for anything to be moved or to happen,' Mr. Bitonti said."

Mar 30, 2013: "Bitonti said a company could purchase the slots at Kawartha Downs and opt to keep the facility as it is. He also said it was also possible for the company to move the slots to another location, pending the approval of a business plan and with the blessing of the municipality in question."

In fact, it is an open question whether the ability to move the facility is even a new contractual provision.

Nov 30, 2012: "Gaming Zones are geographic areas where qualified service providers will be permitted to operate a single gaming facility. The design of these Gaming Zones is intended to manage competition between facilities and ensure a sustainable and efficient gaming market in Ontario. The makeup of each proposed Gaming Zone is subject to change. Within each Gaming Zone, service providers will be permitted to operate the existing facility, establish a new facility if one does not currently exist, or relocate the existing facility within the boundaries of the Gaming Zone, all subject to approvals.... Nothing has changed for municipalities included in the Gaming Bundles issued in the first wave of RFPQs. The rules around existing and new sites, *as well as the potential for service providers to move existing sites* has not changed."

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