Yesterday the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) expressed its appreciation to the employees and management at OLG Slots at Windsor Raceway, OLG Slots at Fort Erie Racetrack and OLG Slots at Hiawatha Horsepark for their service. The three sites closed permanently at 6 pm on 30 April, 2012. The closures come as OLG moves forward with its plan to modernize lottery and gaming in Ontario, in the wake of changing customer preferences for gaming entertainment, as well as the steady decline of U.S. visitors to Ontario gaming sites.
“I would like to thank the employees and management of the slot facilities at Windsor, Fort Erie and Hiawatha for their professionalism and dedication at a trying and emotional time,” said OLG President and CEO Rod Phillips. “Our employees and management have consistently displayed their commitment to serving our customers throughout their history—and have demonstrated their dedication to our customers and to each other—every day.”
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. “These employees made important contributions to OLG. They have done a great job in operating our sites and offered superior customer service to our patrons,” said Mr. Phillips. “This is a difficult day for everyone at OLG. We understand the impact that the closures will have on employees and their families.”
The “Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario,” report was 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 priorities such as health care and education and usher in $3 billion in private sector capital investment in the province.
OLG will continue financial contributions to the municipalities for Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia until March 31, 2013, in order to assist with the transition. In addition, OLG intends to continue to make payments to the operators of these racetracks until March 31, 2013, as long as live horse racing events continue. On March 29, 2012, OLG formally advised municipalities that the province-wide Slots at Racetrack program will be ending on March 31, 2013. (E-05.01.12)
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