Industry Reports

OLG and Gateway Casinos Refuse to Reveal the Price Paid for Casino Acquisitions in Southwestern Ontario

The deal for all the gambling operations in Southwestern Ontario was the one which ended up establishing the largest casino company in Canada. However, local taxpayers have never got any information about the amount which Gateway Casinos and Entertainment paid for the casinos situated at the Western Fair District and the region as a whole.

According to media reports, one part of the payment was finally revealed, with Gateway Casinos having paid CA$174 million for the acquisition of the three casinos and six slots establishments in the Northern and Southwestern part of Ontario Province. The amount was found on the last page of the latest annual report of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).

For the time being, however, both the seller and the buyer have refused to release the figures for each of the venues sold, saying that is private, third-party information. Considering the fact that local taxpayers have not received any details about the transactions, it is actually hard to find out whether the deal was good or bad.

As revealed by The London Free Press, Wayne Gates, a New Democrat MPP who has lobbied for slots to be brought back to the Niagara Falls’ Fort Eire Race Track, said that the process of selling and purchasing such venues should be open and transparent for everyone who might be interested, not to mention that Ontario residents should be provided with enough information on the matter.

Gaming Assets Sales Should Be Transparent

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has described the price paid by Gateway Casinos for the gambling operations located in Southwestern Ontario as a “commercially confidential information”. The Corporation’s spokesman Tony Bitonti further explained shared that OLG has met the financial disclosure obligations and requirements associated with the sale of the gaming assets in the region and has provided some details about that in its annual report.

Mr. Wayne Gates, however, noted that the situation very much resembles another story of OLG’s assets loss. Currently, Gateway Casinos controls all the legal gambling action in the wider London region, with the Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino being the only exception. According to Mr. Gates, such sales are “a cash cow” for the Government of the province.

Only in 2017, the operations of the OLG generated a total amount of CA$2.3 billion for the province. Despite the sale, the Corporation still receives some money from the operations sold. It is still not exactly clear what this amount is.

Mr. Gates is not the only one who called the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to reveal the numbers behind the sales of the gaming properties. Earlier in 2018, a London city councilor, Josh Morgan, asked the Corporation to provide the wider public with more details about the deals. Currently, Gateway Casinos is still in talks with the Western Fair District in London over plans to expand the slot offerings into a massive CA$140-million casino and hotel complex.