OLG Announces Three U.S. Border Slot Facilities will close in Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia on April 30, 2012

Closures part of OLG's Strategic Plan to modernize Ontario's lottery and gaming sector

All three slot facilities temporarily closed for 24 hours until March 15 at 9:00 a.m. EST

TORONTO, March 14, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is announcing today it is permanently closing its slot machine operations at racetracks in the three border communities of Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia.

The closures of OLG Slots at Windsor Raceway, Fort Erie and Hiawatha in Sarnia are part of OLG's plan to modernize lottery and gaming in Ontario following a steady decline of U.S. visitors to Ontario gaming sites and changing customer preferences.

"While this was a difficult decision to make, it was necessary.  Fewer Americans are crossing the border to play slot machines at border sites. A decade ago, border casinos returned a net profit of $800 million a year. Today, that profit is less than $100 million and falling," said OLG President and CEO, Rod Phillips. "With OLG's plan to modernize the province's lottery and gaming sector, we will create some 2,300 net new industry jobs and about 4,000 service sector jobs. Gaming will be more convenient for customers, profitable for Ontario taxpayers and safer with the expansion of our gold standard approach to Responsible Gaming."

As a result of today's announcement, all three slot facilities in Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia are temporarily closed to the public for 24 hours until March 15 at 9:00 a.m. EST.

"We regret the impact today's decision will have on employees who are affected by these impending closures," said Mr. Phillips. "We hope our customers in the Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia areas understand our decision to temporarily close these three locations for 24 hours so we can properly attend to and support our employees."

OLG currently expects to continue reasonable financial contributions to the affected municipalities until March 31, 2013, in order to assist with the transition. OLG also intends to continue to make reasonable payments to the operators of these racetracks until March 31, 2013, as long as live horse racing events continue. The Provincial Government has announced that the province-wide Slots at Racetrack program will be ending March 31, 2013.

"In order to be more responsive to our customers as we modernize our business, we will expand, relocate and contract OLG gaming sites. These three site closures are difficult, but are an important first step. The discussions with key stakeholders regarding potential relocations or new facilities will begin shortly. We will keep employees and the public up to date or our progress," added Mr. Phillips.

In "Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario," a report delivered to the Minister of Finance on March 12, 2012, OLG outlined a proposal to transform lottery and gaming in Ontario to modernize the system and create jobs. By modernizing lottery and gaming, in addition to initiatives currently underway, in five years OLG will contribute an additional $1.3 billion annually to key public priorities and usher in $3 billion in private sector capital investment in the province.

The report made three key recommendations to reform Ontario's gaming and lottery industry:

  • Become More Customer-Focused
  • Expand Regulated Private Sector Delivery of Lottery and Gaming
  • Renew OLG Role in Oversight of Lottery and Gaming

Backgrounders on Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia are attached.

Copies of "Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario" are available at www.olg.ca.

OLG is a provincial agency responsible for province-wide lottery games and gaming facilities. Since 1975, OLG lotteries, Casinos, Slots, and Resort Casinos have generated more than $34 billion for the benefit of the Province of Ontario. Gaming proceeds support Ontario's hospitals, amateur sport, recreational and cultural activities, communities, provincial priority programs such as health care and education, and local and provincial charities and non-profit organizations through the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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Backgrounder
OLG Slots at Windsor Raceway

Quick Facts:

  • Site Opened: December 1998
  • Number of Slots: 750
  • Revenue (2000 to present): $69 million to $41 million
  • Distance to nearest OLG site (Caesars Windsor): 11 km
  • Number of Employees (full time): 150
  • Number of Employees (part-time): 60

In "Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario", a report delivered to the Minister of Finance on March 12, 2012, OLG outlined a proposal to transform lottery and gaming in Ontario to help address the province's fiscal challenge. By modernizing lottery and gaming, in addition to initiatives currently underway, in five years OLG will contribute an additional $1.3 billion annually to key public priorities; usher in $3 billion in private sector capital investment in the province; and help create some 2,300 net new jobs across Ontario and an estimated 4,000 service sector jobs in the hospitality, hotel, restaurant, entertainment and retail sectors.

Changing market forces have made it necessary for OLG to review its current offerings through the Slots-at-Racetrack program. As part of that Strategic Business Review, we identified three border gaming sites as underperforming, largely due to a steep decline in U.S. visitors. The decline is reflected by the revenue stream from our border facilities: A decade ago, border casinos returned a net profit of $800 million dollars a year - now, that profit is less than $100 million dollars and falling.

As a result, we will be moving our slot machine offerings from the Windsor Raceway. While OLG regrets this impact, it is important to note that by modernizing the gaming industry, we will help create new employment opportunities in Ontario through a new, revitalized gaming sector. Gaming across Ontario needs to better reflect what customers want, and must be closer to where they live, thus all future decisions will be made with market demand as our top priority.

Caesars Windsor is a critical part of OLG's gaming infrastructure, and OLG has a major investment in the casino and is committed to the sustainability of the Windsor gaming market, so, that facility will not be closing.

Copies of Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario are available at www.olg.ca.

Backgrounder
OLG Slots at Fort Erie

Quick Facts:

  • Site Opened: September 1999
  • Number of Slots: 401
  • Distance to closest OLG (Fallsview Casino): 27 km
  • Revenue (2001 to present): $123 million to $29 million
  • Number of Employees (full and part time): 160 and 50

In "Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario", a report delivered to the Minister of Finance on March 12, 2012, OLG outlined a proposal to transform lottery and gaming in Ontario to help address the province's fiscal challenge. By modernizing lottery and gaming, in addition to initiatives currently underway, in five years OLG will contribute an additional $1.3 billion annually to key public priorities; usher in $3 billion in private sector capital investment in the province; and help create some 2,300 net new jobs across Ontario and an estimated 4,000 service sector jobs in the hospitality, hotel, restaurant, entertainment and retail sectors.

Changing market forces have made it necessary for OLG to review its current offerings through the Slots-at-Racetrack program. As part of that Strategic Business Review, we identified three border gaming sites as underperforming, largely due to a steep decline in U.S. visitors. The decline is reflected by the revenue stream from our border facilities: A decade ago, border casinos returned a net profit of $800 million dollars a year - now, that profit is less than $100 million dollars and falling.

As a result, we will be moving our slot machine offerings from the Fort Erie Racetrack. While OLG regrets this impact, it is important to note that by modernizing the gaming industry, we will help create new employment opportunities in Ontario through a new, revitalized gaming sector. Gaming across Ontario needs to better reflect what customers want, and must be closer to where they live, thus all future decisions will be made with market demand as our top priority.

Copies of Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario are available at www.olg.ca.

Backgrounder
OLG Slots at Hiawatha

Quick Facts:

  • Site Opened: May 1999
  • Number of Slots: 452
  • Distance to closest OLG site (Point Edward): 8 km
  • Revenue (2001 to present): $45 million to $29 million
  • Number of Employees (full and part time): 90 and 50

In "Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario", a report delivered to the Minister of Finance on March 12, 2012, OLG outlined a proposal to transform lottery and gaming in Ontario to help address the province's fiscal challenge. By modernizing lottery and gaming, in addition to initiatives currently underway, in five years OLG will contribute an additional $1.3 billion annually to key public priorities; usher in $3 billion in private sector capital investment in the province; and help create some 2,300 net new jobs across Ontario and an estimated 4,000 service sector jobs in the hospitality, hotel, restaurant, entertainment and retail sectors.

Changing market forces have made it necessary for OLG to review its current offerings through the Slots-at-Racetrack program. As part of that Strategic Business Review, we identified three border gaming sites as underperforming, largely due to a steep decline in U.S. visitors. The decline is reflected by the revenue stream from our border facilities: A decade ago, border casinos returned a net profit of $800 million dollars a year - now, that profit is less than $100 million dollars and falling.

As a result, we will be moving our slot machine offerings from the Hiawatha Horse Park & Entertainment Centre. While OLG regrets this impact, it is important to note that by modernizing the gaming industry, we will help create new employment opportunities in Ontario through a new, revitalized gaming sector. Gaming across Ontario needs to better reflect what customers want, and must be closer to where they live, thus all future decisions will be made with market demand as our top priority.

Copies of Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario are available at www.olg.ca.

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