Canadian Province to Give $893 Million to Bingo Operators ?

Rod Phillips, President and CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, spoke to the Canadian Club and described the Ontario Lottery’s plan to modernize. Phillips revealed the staggering amount he bingo operators to make as part of the modernization program. According to the written transcript of his speech “Our plan also includes expanding charitable gaming with new electronic bingo games in halls across Ontario…OLG launched a revitalization of Ontario’s Charitable Bingo and Gaming industry with a commitment to re-invigorate the traditional Bingo experience. By doing so, we expect to deliver $475 million dollars in much-needed funding directly to Ontario charities.”

According to the Ontario Lottery website the $475 million will be paid to charities over the next eight years. The program will be expanded to bingo halls throughout the province. The new profit sharing scheme has charities and the OLG each receiving 25% of the profits and operators will retain 47% of the profits. The remaining 3% will be paid to the host municipalities. If the OLG expects $475 million to go to charities over eight years the OLG is expecting bingo profits in the province to be $1.9 billion during the eight year period. Ontario’s bingo halls are in line to receive $893 million or $111.6 million annually.

Under the program each bingo hall operator will receive $14.64 million over the eight year period as their share of the bingo profits. Earlier in the year Dwight Duncan and Dalton McGuinty spoke about how Ontario could not afford the partnership with the horse racing industry because the program would return $345 million to the industry. Organizations representing charity bingo operators have been very complimentary of the province’s position regarding charity bingo. Executive Director, Lynn Cassidy of the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association, said in a letter posted on the organization’s website “I would like to thank the Premier’s Office, Minister Dwight Duncan and his staff and, of course, Mr. Paul Godfrey for hearing the concerns of our members and for their sincere interest in supporting charities and non-profits in Ontario in their fund-raising efforts.

A major difference in the current approach from the previous E-bingo initiative is that there will be a range of options that will potentially offer benefits to all areas of the bingo industry. The approach will continue to be one of choice by charities and by operators and expansion of E-gaming sites, with electronic bingo enhanced with new products and technology, will be a substantial part of the initiative.” In is not clear yet how many people will benefit from the $893 million expected to be paid to the 61 bingo hall operators. Hopefully the new program will benefit charities and spark a bingo revival in Ontario.