The Liberal government in Ontario is likely to turn to gambling in order to save its budget. McGuinty’s government has run deeply into debt, and it is reported that they will turn to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) for extra funding.
Reportedly, the OLG has been told to bring in $3 billion extra over the next five years. It currently generates $1.8 billion for the state.
Currently, the OLG operates 10 casinos, as well as operating slot machines at 17 different racetracks across the province and 9 lottery-style games. One option being looked at is the opening of a new casino in the Greater Toronto Area.
Chairman of the OLG, Paul Godfrey, said: "We are prepared to move forward immediately on discussions with municipal leaders to bring one new world-class gaming entertainment centre to the GTA" .
The move to bring casinos into the greater urban areas comes as profits on border casinos are down from $800 million in 2001 to just $100 million in 2011. As these casinos struggle to attract US crowds, OLG and the government will close down and relocate many of the underperforming facilities.
Under this government scheme, the OLG would also start a controlled online gaming facility, offering online casino and possibly online poker and online sportsbetting. This will mirror the products available in the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia.
Canadian Poker Network’s Espace Jeux service, and Play Now of British Columbia, offer gaming to residents of the two provinces, with all funds routed back into the province. Ontario’s online service would mimic these.
There have also been criticisms of the effect a new casino would have on the local community. Toronto councillor Adam Vaughan said that "The impact that urban casinos have on neighbourhoods and communities that surround them are pretty close to devastating," suggesting that the government is ignoring local businesses by focussing on the gaming business.
The government and OLG responded to this by pointing out that Ontario spends $50 million a year on problem gambling. It is increasingly likely that a new casino in the GTA will get the go-ahead, with the online gaming facilities supporting the expansion.
Whether this would solve the government's cash problems is up for debate, but it looks wedded to the idea of gambling. While the government takes its time getting this setup, you can play at many of our listed online casinos or have a look at our new slots reviews pages listing many online slots and play them instantly.
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