OLG Privatization Raises Concerns in Canada

Publish: 04.08.2017

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) announced earlier in July its plans to select a private operator which will gain control over the province’s casinos during the next two decades.

Privatization the Hot Issue

A number of Canadian and foreign private operators have been drawn by the prospect of tapping into a lucrative gaming business in the Greater Toronto Area, but the list is said to have been cut to three names – Canada’s Brookfield Asset management, Caesars Entertainment and Genting Group from Malaysia.

The latest development has been branded as controversial, raising plenty of concerns with the members of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada, who have questioned the OLG’s decision to allow the privatization believing the province would lose millions in revenue.

The upcoming privatization will see private sector gain more control over a prosperous gambling business and such a prospect did not fall nicely with NDP’s main finance critic, John Vanthof.

John Vanthof pleaded with the Financial Accountability Officer, Stephen LeClair, to determine the amount of money that would be lost once the private operators take over the gambling business in Ontario.

Potentially Huge Losses

Vanthof reminds that OLG remains the largest non-tax revenue stream in the province, with the influx of around $2 billion each year from this stream of business. He believes the new privatization plan is set to give away a minimum of $72 million per year, whereas he also thinks the privatization would see OLG lose up to 70% of all gambling revenue.

John Vanthof warns about the consequences, reminding that lower provincial revenue from gambling would ultimately cut funding for the services people of Ontario are counting on, such as hospitals and schools.

“We’ve seen enough cutting and squeezing under the Wynne government – these things really are at a breaking point, and they can’t take any more cuts.”, John Vanthof said.