Industry Reports

Canadian Operators Leave the Bidding War for Niagara Falls Properties Amid Strong US Gambling Operators’ Competition

A total of three US gambling operators are competing in what seems to be the final part of the bidding war for two Niagara Falls casinos which has been offered for sale by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) in 2017, after their Canadian rivals gave up the bidding process after it became too pricey.

As mentioned above, April 2017 saw the OLG announce its intentions to sell the lease contracts for Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort. The decision followed the government agency’s plans to boost government revenues accumulated from the casinos across the province. According to unnamed sources close to the bidding process, have revealed that there are three remaining competitors, including the Mohegan Sun Inc., the Hard Rock Cafe International Inc. and Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Previously, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has revealed its intentions to announce the winner in the summer of 2018. Currently, the US competitors are making aggressive bids to acquire the Niagara Falls properties, as they are willing to add the two gambling venues to their international customer loyalty programs.

As mentioned above, there were a couple of Canadian bidders, too, with the two biggest companies in the local gambling sector – the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. and Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd – also being part of the process. However, both companies chose to stop bidding for the properties, as their price grew significantly.

Niagara Falls Casinos Acquisition Could Bring More Tax Revenue

Despite the fact that the Canadian gambling operators have already chosen to leave the competition, there were some leading casino executives who raised a red flag over a possible sale of the two properties to a US gambling operator. According to them, linking the client information of Fallsview and Casino Niagara could make many high roller customers choose US casino chains, which could really hurt Canadian properties’ revenues.

For years now, some US casino operators have been trying to attract more affluent customers to their Las Vegas properties. Currently, Caesars Entertainment Corp. is among the biggest gambling companies not only in the US but also on a global scale, running a total of 47 properties, including the Windsor Casino in Ontario. Hard Rock, on the other hand, owns 15 gambling venues situated in 11 countries, Canada included. Last but not least, the Mohegan Sun which is operated by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut owns one New England-based hotel and casino complex.

The privatization process carried out by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. sees global gambling operators enter the rivalry for winning the right to operate casino venues on lease contracts for a period of 20 years, which bring them a chunk of the revenue brought in by gambling services in return to them paying an annual tax to the province. For the time being, the OLG brings Ontario about CA$2 billion on an annual basis, with the tax revenue expected to increase as soon as the two Niagara Falls casino properties are taken over by new companies.