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OLG to give casino update

By: Darren MacDonald - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jan 28, 2013 - 1:09 PM |

Officials to meet with city council Jan. 29

Representatives from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. will be at city council Jan. 29 to give an update on plans to build a casino in Greater Sudbury.

OLG officials who will address councillors are Rick Gray, vice-president of gaming transformation; Tony Bitonti, senior manager, media relations; Jake Pastore, director of municipal and community relations; and Jonathan Trentadue, associate manager of social responsibility.

The group will update councillors on the long process toward deciding where a casino will be built, when it will open and who will build and operate it when it finally opens.

The process began last spring when the OLG announced it was ending its revenue-sharing agreement with Ontario racetracks in favour of building casinos in urban areas.

The OLG has issued a tender looking for bidders interested in building casinos in all five gaming zones in Northern Ontario. Once they have pre-qualified the operators, the OLG is expected to release a request for proposal tender, which would call for concrete proposals to build the casinos.

The OLG is looking at signing 20-year deals with operators in the Northern Zone, with options to renew the agreement for 10 years. 

Operators would get a flat $25 million a year to run the casinos, and then would get 70 per cent of the revenue once the total money from gaming exceeds a certain threshold. Determining exactly where that threshold will be is part of the competitive bidding process. 

Last week, the OLG announced it had the outline of an agreement with Sudbury Downs owner Pat MacIsaac to keep the slots facility operating after March 31, when the old deal expires. Unlike the old agreement, which shared gambling revenues, the new lease is a straight rental agreement.

After March 31, however, the city’s share of slots revenue will increase to 5.25 per cent, from five per cent. 

That 5.25-per-cent share would apply to the first $65 million of net slots revenue; it would decline to three per cent of the next $135 million; 2.5 per cent on the next $300 million; and, 0.5 per cent of all remaining revenue.

While the end of the slots agreement has put the future of horseracing at the Downs in doubt, the province is negotiating with Sudbury and other racetracks to provide transitional funding so racing can continue after March 31.

While no details have been released, the province has signed an agreement with the Woodbine Entertainment Group to keep Woodbine and Mohawk raceways operating.

Those agreements are expected to be templates for other racetracks.

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Darren MacDonald

Darren MacDonald

Staff Writer


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