Latest gambling news from Ontario finds that the City of Pickering has agreed to share a percentage of its casino revenue with the Region of Durham. It is expected that the region will allocate some of the money toward funding social housing projects. The idea for the initiative dates back to Great Canadian Entertainment’s announcement for a casino in the region in 2018.
Pickering Casino Resort first launched operations in July 2021, and since then the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has rewarded more than CA$20.2 million in non-tax gaming revenue to the city for hosting it. However, with the new agreement between the city and Durham, there will be slight changes to how much the city receives every quarter.
Contract Now in Play
At the contract signing ceremony, Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe commented that the city is taking proactive steps towards building a stronger, more equitable community for everyone by sharing casino revenue. He added that together the two communities can have a meaningful effect on people’s lives and develop a brighter future for residents in the region.
The contract backdates to January 1, 2023, and states that Pickering will keep the first CA$10 million in revenue from the OLG, and then share the balance evenly with Durham. There is a cap of CA$8 million per year. Estimates find that the city gets approximately CA$16 million from the casino annually, which would mean CA$3 million every year for the region.
Meanwhile, Durham Chair John Henry said the agreement was an exciting partnership and expects to renew in 2026. He remarked that it was an opportunity to provide exceptional value to Durham taxpayers. He added that it was a contract which would provide responsive, effective, and fiscally sustainable service delivery, focusing on securing exceptional quality services and value.
Since the Durham Region is an upper-tier municipality, it is in charge of delivering social housing and Pickering has come up with the proposal to use some of the casino revenue for social housing and other social programs in the area. However, under the memorandum of understanding, Durham is not legally bound to follow up on the suggestion.
Currently, Pickering gets 5.25% of the first CA$65 million in slot proceeds, 3% of slot revenue between CA$65 million and CA$200 million, and 2.5% of slot revenue between CA$200 million and CA$500 million. In October 2021, the city officially received its first payment since the opening of the property from OLG which amounted to a hefty sum of CA$2,439,575.
Hotel is Now Fully Operational
Despite launching in the summer of 2021, Pickering Resort Casino did not open its hotel until January 2023. Its new 275-room Pickering Casino Resort Hotel also boasts 33 luxurious and spacious suites equipped with separate living spaces and 22 accessible rooms with thoughtful and convenient adjustments. Guests are now able to book their stays at their preferred time.
Source: Hendry, Glenn “Pickering to share casino revenues with Durham to support of social housing – a first in Ontario” InDurham, March 24, 2023