Ontario Casinos Lost $10M in Interest-Free Loans to Gamblers since 2010

Publish: 22.06.2017

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation documents have revealed a devastating fact for the province’s publicly-owned casinos that are now down millions of dollars in chips loaned to 65 gamblers since 2010.

House Credit

Casino visitors whose accounts are now in default have been given the total of $10 million in interest-free loans over the period of last seven years.

The four casinos run by private operators for the OLG – Casino Rama, Caesars Windsor, Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara – were involved in a program which is frowned upon in other provinces and countries. The house credit program is performed under strict control, claims OLG. It has thus far allowed up to $37 million in credit since 2010.

This controversial practice of allowing house credit to players has now amounted for individual debt worth $17.000 per unpaid account as house credits remain unattended since 2010. OLG claims not all of the players that ask for a credit will get it and data show that 59 out of 171 gamblers were denied last year.

Major Problem

Lisa Pont, a social worker of the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario claims house credit comes with the risk of triggering a destructive cycle for problem gamblers. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is unaware whether any of the debts were left by customers with problem gambling though.

“If those debts do not get addressed and there is no plan to pay them back, it can often keep people in the gambling cycle chasing their losses,” Pont said.

The latest results of this social experiment now leave casinos with a better understanding and with ‘data analytics’ that will help operators change their approach in the future.

Still, after ‘exhausting all lawful collection options, including the services of collection agencies’ the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation now considers this $10 million as the uncollectible debt.