Ontario Looks to Gaming to Generate Revenue

By Debra SaundersGoogle

Faced with a significant deficit and increased pressure to balance the budget, authorities in Ontario, Canada are looking for ways to generate revenue. They plan to generate an additional $1.3 billion annually from the gaming industry by building a casino in the Toronto area and expanding into the online casino games business.

Speaking at a press conference, Dwight Duncan, Ontario’s Finance Minister, said the changes would bring the province's lottery and gaming corporation up-to-date. "We're bringing OLG into the 21st century and putting it on a strong footing going forward," he stated.

In an effort to modernize land-based casinos, those that are not performing well will either be closed or relocated.

Online casino games opportunities are also planned, with relevant legislation expected to be determined this year with the expectation of establishing top rated online casinos by 2013.

Officials have determined that online casino games generate about $500 million in Ontario, but currently the money is being lost to offshore betting sites.

OLG recently sent out requests for proposals for help in creating and managing online casino game sites for video poker and video slots, as well as lottery ticket sales.

Asked if he is worried about the possibility that those who can least afford to gamble might be the most likely to spend as opportunities to play online casino games increase, Finance Minister Duncan pointed to Ontario’s "aggressive" responsible gaming programs. "Prohibition doesn't work," he continued, reciting a list of areas within the province where casinos are successful already. "We're in this so we want to make sure we're running it well and the return to taxpayers is solid."


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