Privatizing slots worries northern MPP
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's plans to privatize slots facilities opens door for new buyer, new location
NDP Health Critic France Gelinas says gambling shouldn't be in the hands of the private sector — something that could happen if the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation goes through with its plans to privatize its slots operations.
The OLG has said it will look to private gaming companies to acquire the slots facilities across the province.
"There's a ton of red flags that goes on," Gelinas said. "I don't think this is what Ontarians want. And I think this is wrongheaded policy."
The OLG recently announced it was pulling out of the Slots at Racetracks program. And last week, the corporation terminated its lease on the slots facility out at Sudbury Downs. Both decisions take effect next March.
The OLG will visit Sudbury Downs in the spring to conduct an assessment of the facility.
The move opens the door for a new buyer, and possibly a new location.
Tony Bitonti, a spokesperson for the OLG, said attracting buyers — and gamblers — could mean moving the slots, including those at Sudbury Downs.
"We will have the ability to discuss with the private sector operators that, if they want to relocate that facility … there is the potential to do that."
All of this concern Gelinas, who said she worries easier access to gambling will be detrimental to those afflicted with gambling issues. Gelinas is the MPP for Nickel Belt.
"I see something drastically wrong with [putting the slots] in the hands of people whose number one priority is to make a profit," Gelinas said.
The OLG said the facilities would still be regulated by the province.