Ontario Communities Reap the Benefits of Local Casinos
The relationship between land-based gaming and the communities that surround these facilities can be a tricky one. While some consider casinos very problematic, they can also give a serious boost to local businesses and change the employment situation for a lot of people.
In addition to this, casino companies hand out a lot of money to communities and players, even though this also helps to maintain a positive corporate image. In Ontario, figures have been released showing how casinos are giving back to communities, and this isn’t pocket change.
To start with, the state-run Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation reported that it has donated a total of more than $20 million to residents. This money was distributed throughout the 23 communities that host the corporation’s provincial gaming points-of-service. The sum includes over $400,000 that was given to the city of Thunder Bay.
Thunder Bay’s major facility, aptly named Casino Thunder Bay, has been open since August in 2000. The 14,000 square foot casino has 14 table games and around 450 slot games. According to a report in the newspaper The Chronicle-Journal, the released figures refer to the quarterly payments of non-taxed revenue. Specifically, we’re talking about the three months starting from the beginning of October 2016. A rough calculation sets estimates of earnings by Thunder Bay’s 109,000 residents at over $30 million since the casino first opened.
In an official statement, Michael Gravelle, a member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly and representative of the Thunder Bay – Superior North faction, said, “The Ontario Lottery And Gaming Corporation provides host municipalities with significant revenues each year that help communities invest in local priorities such as infrastructure and programs and services that benefit Ontario families.”
Gravelle added that “Along with supporting local development, these funds directly benefit Ontario’s vital public services such as health care and education.”
Casinos giving back to the community of course goes back a long way. It’s one to show that although gambling is sometimes seen in a negative light it does also has a positive side. Although it has the potential to be problematic for certain people, it’s a form of entertainment that if treated as such, doesn’t need to be harmful. Of course it would be naïve to believe that casinos don’t benefit in marketing themselves by donating large sums to the community, but that’s still a win-win situation.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation reported that it’s given more than $33 billion to communities since 1975. This doesn’t include an additional $986 million handed out to host areas by means of a non-taxed gaming revenue payment program.
Bill Mauro, representative of the Thunder Bay – Atikokan constituency in the Ontario Legislative Assembly stated that, “These investments benefit our entire community and strengthen our local economy.”
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation went on to declare that as an organization it supplied the governing authorities of Ontario’s most populated province with their highest individual non-taxed source of revenue. The amount hovers around the $1.5 billion mark. Through its own Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation holds a target of handing out over $86.5 million to a variety of charities over the 2017 financial year.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation signed a deal last month that will see Gateway Casino and Entertainment Limited in Vancouver take on the operation and overall management of Casino Thunder Bay for the following 20 years. This agreement also covers the already functioning facilities in Sudbury and Sault Ste Maries as well as additional venues in the towns in the North Bay and the Kenora area. As part of the agreement, the Crown corporation will be minimizing its activity to a more regulatory position. Crown will continue making non-taxed revenue payments worth an estimated $451,000 to Thunder Bay on a quarterly basis.