In August this year, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (the corporation responsible for the management of commercial gambling in Ontario) selected Great Canadian Gaming and Brookfield Business Partners LP to assume the control over three of its casinos in the Greater Toronto Area. Under the deal, the two companies inked a 22-year long deal that allows them to operate OLG Slots at Woodbine, OLG Slots at Ajax Downs and the Great Blue Heron Casino located in the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.
The two partners are to take over the day-to-day operations of the aforementioned casino properties being tasked with increasing the net from their operations. As it can be recalled, OLG announced a modernization plan in an attempt to spur new investment in the province’s gambling industry. It is interesting to mention that the three gambling venues have a total of more than 4,000 slot machines, 60 table games. In its procurement process, OLG announced that it is looking for an extensive expansion, after which the three gambling venues will have a total of up to 5,000 electronic games and up to 400 gaming tables.
Great Canadian and Brookfield were announced to be equal shareholders, each of them holding 49% stake in the partnership. Clairvest Group Inc. was announced to hold the other 2% in the joint venture. Following the announcement, Great Canadian Gaming’s and Brookfield Business Partners’ market price leaped up.
Many casino proponents supported the project as the expansion was projected to bring broad economic benefits to the local economy. Apart from that, the massive expansion would also mean lower unemployment rate and higher economic activity. Many officials recognized the high correlation between casinos and tourism, hoping that the casino expansion is to attract wealthy foreign visitors.
What Obstructs the Great Canadian-Brookfield Casino Expansion Project
Four months later, the expansion project did not move even a single millimeter forward. The reason for the standstill is that OLG has entered into a Transition and Asset Purchase Agreement with Ontario Gaming GTA LP (OGGLP) for the GTA Gaming Bundle, but the deal is expected to be closed in the beginning of the next year. Once the two parties set out the customary closing conditions, they are to enter a 22-year long Casino Operating and Services Agreement (COSA).
According to the project, the slot-only Woodbine is expected to be turned into a full-fledged entertainment center. Some time ago, Chuck Keeling of Great Canadian Gaming explained that at this stage, the two partners are unable to provide any further details regarding the project, explaining that the project should be firstly discussed with local, provincial, First Nations and third-party stakeholders.