Councillors of North Bay are currently negotiating on how the city should spend the gambling allocations it receives for hosting Cascades Casino North Bay from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The city’s financial plan committee met on Monday afternoon to pitch ideas on what area of the city government needs the money most.
Via the Municipality Contribution Agreement, Ontario shares the proceeds from its land-based casino operations with communities that act as hosts to those casinos. Payments to municipalities differ as each of them is calculated based on a formula which is uniformly applied across all sites. Since the opening of the casino in North Bay, it delivered more than CA$1.6 million in revenue.
The long-term financial plan committee consists of Gary Gardiner, Lana Mitchell, Maggie Horsfield and Justine Mallah, as well as Mayor Peter Chirico. The mayor said that there was never a shortage of items that the casino funds can be used on. Some of the suggestions include helping the homeless, capital projects, and emergency preparedness.
One of the suggestions is to use 20% of the casino funds for economic development, 5% for social and community impact and 75% to put into the special capital project reserve. Ms. Mallah said she wanted to see a larger portion than the proposed 5% go to addressing social issues in relation to problem gambling, such as prevention and treatment programs.
It should be mentioned that there is also a gambling prevention website which is the OLG PlaySmart. It aids players in customizing their time and budget, while also understanding play habits and allows players to take a break from gambling if they need one. However, Ms. Mallah explained that the program does not apply to the unique gambling challenges in North Bay.
Currently, no plans have been made official and the committee will meet again before a final proposal is drafted and sent to the council for a vote on how to use the money. Mayor Chirico said the decision on what to do with the money is one for the council. Council also decided to use the money for asset management projects such as building reconstruction and offset its municipal tax levy.
OLG Shares Casino Profits
Just recently, the Crown corporation handed a cheque worth CA$1.45 million to Sault Ste. Marie for being a host community Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie. This was the city’s share of gaming revenue from slots and live table games for the whole 2022-23 fiscal year. Since the opening of the casino, the city has bagged almost CA$34 million for being a host community.
A few months ago, the OLG also sent out its quarterly payment to the City of Greater Sudbury. For the quarter concluding on March 31, 2023, the Crown agency issued a payment worth CA$444,925 for hosting Gateway Casino Sudbury. Hence putting the total sum for the whole of OLG’s 2022-23 fiscal year to CA$1,929,529.
Source: Taschner, Eric “North Bay explores best uses for its share of casino revenue” CTV News Northern Ontario, June 28, 2023