Without a doubt the current situation has brought quite a lot of inequality in many sectors and markets, due to this, we can see how entire industries are starting to collapse while others are taking off in a way never seen before, all these arise due to the paradigm change that emerged after this global pandemic.
One of the industries affected by the situation was the gaming and gambling sector in Ontario, Canada. According to an official report, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) suffered a loss of revenue of at least $200 million, as only about $600 million of the expected $809 million has been obtained.
Despite this terrible loss and the fact that many employees (about 15,000) were laid off due to the current situation, OLG executives will be rewarded with substantial bonuses. Until now, OLG has not provided specific information regarding the amount that its executives will receive from these bonuses, since they are currently “under review.”
The only information that is available at the moment regarding the payment of the bonuses is that they are being granted to the executives due to the work done in 2019 and, within the law, they have no relation to this year’s losses.
The news shocked Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who accused OLG of giving large bonuses to executive “fat cats” in the midst of a situation that has caused casinos to close.
According to thestar.com, Ford expressed its anger at the company’s decisions, even though its government-granted OLG a $500 million credit line. The exact words of the Prime Minister, in which he expressed his disagreement with the situation, were the following:
“You’ve got to be sitting around the table and think, is this prudent to do this? And I understand the legal ramifications. I was told that the lawsuits will be flying everywhere. Well, save it. Maybe this year … they should forget about the bonuses. They’re making big bucks,” he said, noting departing OLG president Stephen Rigby earns $765,406 a year.
One of the main reasons for Ford’s anger is that he finds a situation of this magnitude outrageous when there are people who are in a dire situation that does not even allow them to put food on the table.
As a first step, Ford announced that it would meet with Peter Deeb, who the Prime Minister pointed out as OLG chair; and that it would also have a conversation with Finance Minister Rod Phillips, whose ministry oversees the gambling agency.
Again, expressed by Prime Minister Ford as reported by thestar.com:
“I’m going to be very, very clear about this. The finance minister knows about this. He’s going to deal with this issue. I talked to Mr. Deeb today and I told him how frustrated I am about this,”
Despite the Prime Minister’s displeasure, he also clarified that because the organization is arms-length from the government, he could not prevent the payments from being made, much less block them completely, as reported by cbc.ca.
The OLG administration warned Prime Minister Ford that, if he failed to make the bonus payments, it would unleash a chain of lawsuits by the company; however, the current situation is that the bonuses will be under review by the finance minister and that, for the time being, they are being held up.