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Town of Innisfil inks deal with OLG

By Miriam King, QMI Agency


While there is still uncertainty about the future of Georgian Downs, the Town of Innisfil has inked an agreement with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

The town signed its deal with the OLG for the Slots at Racetrack Program back in 2002 and since then has been receiving a share of revenues amounting to more than $4 million per year.

The OLG has now adopted ‘Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario’, with plans to end the Slots at Racetrack program on March 31, 2013 and on April 4 of this year, notified host municipalities that it would be implementing a new fee-sharing model immediately, designed to reduce the money paid to host municipalities.

On Nov. 21, council received a look at the new agreement, which would take effect in April 2013 and would actually increase funding for the town.

The current agreement, based on net wins of $127.6 million, generates $4.27 million in revenues annually. While the net wins would be adjusted downward to $124 million in the agreement, the hosting fee actually jumps to $5.187 million per year, for a full year, if the town remains a host municipality.

However, while town staff remain cautiously optimistic, there is uncertainty over the continuation of the current gaming site at Georgian Downs under the ongoing request for proposal process which lumps Innisfil in with Barrie and Oro-Medonte.

“It has been a very challenging process,” said CAO John Skorobohacz. “However, we’re optimistic that we’re nearing the end of the process, and once the OLG issues the RFPs and request for proposals quotes... we have an operator in our community” who is both capable and qualified to provide a gaming centre.

“Hopefully the province will understand that we are not happy (about the potential closure), and (at) sometime, greater wisdom will prevail.”

The new agreement also includes a clause that prohibits the town from filing claim against the OLG even if the corporation doesn’t meet its payment obligations.

Mayor Barb Baguley noted that if the town doesn’t accept the new agreement, “we have no agreement,” and OLG will have no obligation to pay anything.

“This is the true definition of a rock and a hard place,” she said.

Council approved the agreement.

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