This week, the City of Pickering and the Region of Durham announced that they have struck an agreement on how to share gambling revenue from the locally-based Pickering Casino Resort. Executive committees from both sides met on Monday, February 6, 2023, and approved several items which will now be subject to a council vote on Monday, February 27, 2023.
Pickering Casino Resort is one of the newest gaming properties in Ontario, as it first opened its doors for patrons in July 2021. It is operated by Great Canadian Entertainment Corporation, and it stretches over 96,000 square feet of land, while also boasting premium gambling options, a retail sportsbook, exceptional dining venues, an entertainment centre and more.
Finding the Right Use of Gambling Money
In the February meeting, the council passed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Region of Durham for the sharing of gambling funds from the Great Canadian Entertainment casino. As host to the property, Pickering currently gets 5.25% of the first CA$65 million of electronic games proceeds and 4% of the live table games. As of December 2022, it received CA$20,253,780.
Chief Administrative Officer Marisa Carpino elaborated that the Durham Region will receive 50% of shared gambling profits after the first CA$10 million and the cap is CA$6 million for the region. Meanwhile, the city will report annually to the city on how it used that money. Also, the agreed Memorandum of Understanding is set to expire in four years.
Ward 1 Regional Coun. Maurice Brenner wishes to see an escape clause in the agreement, which will be in case the money is not used by the region as it was initially intended. This includes addressing human needs and being invested in services such as social services and affordable housing, and not in infrastructure such as road and bridge development.
Additionally, the committed passed a license agreement with the Ontario Volleyball Association, enabling it to run volleyball programs at Diana, Princess of Wales Park for five years. Other approved items include the submission of the application Government of Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Building for the retrofit of George Ashe Library and Community Centre.
Hotel is Now Open
More recent news coming from Pickering was that Pickering Casino Resort and Great Canadian Entertainment finally launched the property’s hotel. The new portion of the property impresses with over 275 premium guest rooms which vary from 388 square feet to 775 square feet. There are also 33 luxurious and spacious suites equipped with separate living spaces and 22 accessible rooms with thoughtful and convenient adjustments.
Shortly after the launch of the casino in 2021, the City of Pickering received its first quarterly payment from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation for hosting it. According to the OLG, the first quarterly allocation was CA$2,439,575. Back then Mayor Dave Ryan said the money will be used to support the city’s infrastructure and economy
Source: Calis, Kristen “Pickering to share casino revenue with Region of Durham” DurhamRegion.com, February 16, 2023