Casino News

Fort Erie Mayor Slams OLG over Slot Operations

Mayor of For Erie, Wayne Redekop shared his frustration with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and how it has been conducting business over years. The mayor has a number of issues with the Crown agency, with one of them being that it has run Vegas-style slots contrary to the rules they are supposed to be operating under.

One of his concerns with the OLG dates back to 2012 when more than 200 jobs were eliminated in Fort Erie due to the changes at the slots-at-racetrack program, as well as Windsor and Sarnia. However, slots from the track were suspended, and they were relocated to two bingo halls in Fort Erie, locations in Niagara Falls, Welland and St. Catharines, and are run by Delta Gaming.

Modernized Bingo Halls

The relocated slots are promoted as ‘Vegas-style’ on the official website of Delta Gaming. And recently a local news outlet opened up the subject that some of the bingo halls have been transformed into casino properties, offering up to 100 betting machines and look and function closely to slot machines. This is a problem since provincial laws, prohibit slots from being placed at bingo halls.

Mayor Redekop commented that if slot machines are available in small communities like his, a portion of the revenue should go back to the local municipality, as they did prior to the 2012 changes. He explained that when these machines were placed in the municipalities, the local governments were not consulted on the matter and that they were not quite transparent with their intentions.

A spokesperson for the OLG, Tony Bitonti said that currently money spent at bingo halls is divided into several portions. Out of which 25% goes to local charities, 25% to the Crown agency, 47% to operators of the establishments and just 3% to host communities. The mayor believes that if slots return that the formula for the proceeds should be changed to benefit non-profits and local organizations.

Mr. Redekop stated that the Crown corporation should not be taking steps contrary to the rules that they should abide by. He also believes that the OLG should not worry that a slot amenity at the Fort Erie Racetrack could pose a threat to the Crown’s two casino properties in Niagara Falls. And instead, the three gaming amenities would be making more money for the region.

Update on New Event Centre

And speaking of OLG’s Niagara Falls casino properties, just recently the Crown announced the name of its new event centre at its Fallsview Casino Resort. The launch of the now-branded OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino has been delayed several times, but now the OLG and operator of the resort Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment said it will launch this fall.

Back in May, the OLG shared that the new CA$140 million entertainment centre and its launch has been put on hold due to some sound issues. The construction of the new venue began in 2018 and it was initially on schedule to open in 2020, but due to the emergence of the unprecedented situation and the following suspension of live shows its launch was delayed.

Source: Dubé, Kris “OLG offering Vegas-style slot machines ‘contrary to the rules they’re supposed to be operating under,’ says Fort Erie mayorThe Star, September 13, 2022