Gambling heavyweights Caesars Entertainment and Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group are vying for sole control of gambling operations in Ontario as it position itself as Canada’s premier gambling hub.
The Globe and Mail reported that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has trimmed down the number of operators vying for the control of the Greater Toronto Area’s gambling operations to three as the bidding process reached the final round.
According to the report, the chosen operator will oversee gambling at Toronto’s Woodbine racetrack, Ajax Downs and the Great Blue Heron Casino in Port Perry. Citing unnamed sources, both Caesars and Genting are still in the running to become Ontario’s next gambling operator.
Also vying for the coveted venture was Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management. The three operators all declined to comment on the report.
The lucky gambling operator will be awarded with a minimum of CAD72 million (US$57.43 million) annually over the 22 years of the deal, including 70 percent of gambling revenue.
According to the report, the winning bidder will be allowed to construct a fourth gambling establishment in the area and at the same time turn old gambling sites into full-fledged casinos. The centerpiece of the award is the Woodbine facility, which is near the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
“The OLG’s modernization plan is the catalyst for Woodbine Entertainment to unlock the value of the Woodbine lands to sustain horse racing on our 680-acre site and bring real economic development to Rexdale,” Woodbine spokesman John Siscos said.
OLG spokeswoman Allison MacNeil pointed out that all the firms that joined the bidding process are being subjected to a thorough review. The process, according to MacNeil, includes undergoing an extensive due-diligence process into current and past business conduct; examination of a gaming operator’s ability to act in accordance with the law.
The OLG is Ontario government’s bread and butter, generating some CAD2.3-billion (US$1.83 billion) worth of non-tax revenues in the 2015-16 fiscal year. But intense competition from internet gambling and casinos in the United States has greatly affected OLG’s revenues in the recent years.