How is casino revenue being spent in Ontario communities? 

February 24, 2023 12:23 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports
February 24, 2023 12:23 PM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports

Ontario communities are benefitting from the Municipality Contribution Agreement, in which the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission provides revenue to municipalities that host brick-and-mortar gaming. 

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In the last quarter, which went from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, 29 communities received payments ranging from $85,880 to just over $6.3 million.  

Communities receive a share of revenues under a formula that’s the same across the province. The payments are based on a graduated scale of slot revenue and a share of table and sportsbook revenue for sites that offer them. 

Under the agreement, municipalities receive 5.25 percent on the first $65 million of slot revenue, 3 percent on the next $135 million of slot revenue, 2.5 percent on the next $300 million of slot revenue, 0.5 percent on the slot revenue above $500 million, and 4 percent of table-game and sportsbook revenue (if applicable). 

So how is the money being spent, according to OLG? 

Sault Ste. Marie, home of Gateway Casinos, received a check for $333,117. Sault Ste. Marie contributed almost $30 million from casino revenue to help build a new hospital, which opened in 2011. 

In Innisfil, where you’ll find another Gateway Casinos, $1.4 million went their way last quarter. Innisfil has used a significant amount of casino host payments to build a $30 million rec center that opened in 2008. Gateway Casinos opened there in 2001. 

Brantford, home of Elements Casino, accepted a check for $1.4 million last quarter. From 1999 to 2012, the city spent more than $19 million to revitalize its downtown core. Before the revitalization, Brantford’s downtown was used as a backdrop for film crews shooting horror movies. Now, the downtown core is home to a large campus of Wilfred Laurier University and has many thriving businesses. 

Ajax, where Casino Ajax is located, received $912,355 after investments in replacing fire trucks, snowplows, and other aging equipment. 

Peterborough, since Shorelines Casino opened in 2018, has received $8.7 million. The city used $677,909 from its OLG revenue to help pay for construction of Quaker Foods City Square, a family-friendly community space that includes a refrigerated outdoor skating rink in the winter and water-play features in the summer. They’re also putting portions of the money toward new splash pads, construction of the Canadian Canoe Museum, Central Area Community Improvement Plan initiatives, and the expansion of city trails and a cycling network. 

“From healthcare and education to community festivals, OLG’s profits are hard at work in all 29 host communities and all across our province,” says Tony Bitonti, OLG spokesperson. “Each host community decides on how the funds are spent annually and reports to their residents and OLG how the community has benefitted.”