The biggest potential opportunities for operational change arose in Ontario, stemming from Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s (OLG) spring announcement of the outcomes of its strategic business review. The key outcomes of the review are for OLG to become more customer focused, to expand private sector delivery of lottery and gaming by transferring ownership and day-to-day operations to the private sector, and to renew and enhance OLG’s oversight role.
The plan for increased customer focus includes closing or relocating underperforming facilities, ending the direct support of horse racing through the slots at racetracks program, and allowing new gaming sites in convenient locations where there is customer interest and tourism potential.
With OLG currently responsible for 23,000 slot machines and over 500 table games, as well as 27 gaming facilities and over 10,000 lottery terminals, this is a huge potential opportunity for the private sector, including the development of a destination resort facility in downtown Toronto, should the city approve.
The modernization process is well underway, with a Request for Information (RFI) having been released seeking private sector feedback on new facilities development, ongoing conversations with municipal governments throughout the province, and the recent Requests for Pre- Qualification (RFPQ) from parties interested in developing and operating gaming businesses in the Ottawa, East and North bundles. This is to be followed by RFPQs for the balance of the province and then Requests for Proposals (RFP) from qualified developers and operators. Overhanging all this is the likely provincial election expected in early 2013.
Finally, online gaming is now an established fact, with British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Loto-Québec, and Atlantic Lottery Corporation all offering online product, to be joined in 2013 by at least Manitoba Lotteries and OLG.
2012 has indeed been busy. The Canadian Gaming Association has been part and party to all of these initiatives, and will continue to play an active role in them, as well as other matters pertaining to our industry as they arise.
By Bill Rutsey, President and CEO of Canadian Gaming Association