Critical OLG report won't alter plans for Sudbury, chamber says

The Sudbury Chamber of Commerce says a critical report of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's modernization plan won't affect Sudbury.
OLG originally projected it could bring in an additional $4.6 billion in gaming profits between 2013 and 2018 through new casinos and other modernization efforts, a figure it has since revised downward by nearly half to $2.2 billion. (CBC)

The Sudbury Chamber of Commerce says a critical report of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's modernization plan won't affect Sudbury.

Central to the plan are new casinos in major cities, including Sudbury and North Bay. The auditor general says the OLG is going too fast without consulting municipalities.

The Chamber's David Boyce said the OLG may have to slow down.

“I think it'll have an impact on the way OLG conducts its business but … for Sudbury, the key thing is coming up with a deal for harness racing and the modernization program for the casino here in Sudbury,” Boyce said. “[And that] is probably some time away, in any case.”

The OLG still maintains that its plan will deliver a $3 billion profit in a few years.

Moving on

Sudbury is one of five northern cities where the OLG plans to open a casino as part of its plan to turn a profit.

“Unless we hear otherwise … for Sudbury that process will continue to move ahead,” Boyce said.

That process includes choosing a site for a casino and securing a deal for harness racing.

Sudbury Downs owner Pat McIsaac is tied up in negotiations with the OLG about the slots. He is also in discussions with the province about the looming racing season.

Meanwhile, Sudbury's Mayor is no longer betting on a new provincial casino to bring a convention centre to the city.

For the past few years, Marianne Matichuk has pushed for a new casino in hopes it would come with a luxury hotel, convention centre and maybe even a new arena.

But the provincial government's plans to expand casino gambling have stalled, and Matichuk said she's frustrated with the delays.

"I think it's time we look at some other plans with respect to a convention centre, you know, talk to hotels and stuff,” she said. “Because if we wait for the OLG … they just keep postponing stuff."

Ontario Lottery and Gaming said it expects to choose an operator for the five new northern Ontario casinos in the next few months — something it's been saying for more than a year.


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