April 18, 2014

OLG Releases Remaining Gaming RFPQS

On Thursday, December 12, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation launched the remaining Requests for Pre-Qualification (RFPQs) for gaming.

The contents of the OLG’s release appear below


December 12, 2013

TORONTO – The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) continues its modernization of the province’s lottery and gaming industry with the launch of the remaining Requests for Pre-Qualification (RFPQs) for gaming. OLG is also issuing a Request for Information (RFI) for a potential privately-funded, multi-purpose entertainment centre in Niagara Falls.

Gaming RFPQs

The RFPQs include up to 10 Gaming Zones grouped into three Gaming Bundles:

    • GTA Gaming Bundle– Gaming Zones C2 (OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack); C3 (OLG Slots at Ajax Downs); and potentially C8 (Great Blue Heron Casino);


    • Central Gaming Bundle – Gaming Zones C5 (OLG Slots at Georgian Downs); C6 (Casino Rama); and C7 (proposed new gaming site in Collingwood or Wasaga Beach); and


  • West GTA Gaming Bundle – Gaming Zones C4 (OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack); SW1 (OLG Slots at Grand River Raceway); SW2 (OLG Casino Brantford); and SW9 (OLG Slots at Flamboro Downs).


“These Gaming Bundles represent unique opportunities for service providers to leverage the success of our existing gaming sites, with their established customer bases and experienced employees,” said Rod Phillips, President and CEO, OLG. “This will also be an opportunity for a service provider to develop a new facility in Collingwood or Wasaga Beach.”

The RFPQ process enables OLG to create a list of qualified service providers who are then eligible to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents for specific Gaming Bundles. OLG has been releasing RFPQs for the modernization of gaming in stages. The release of these RFPQs follows the RFPQs for Gaming Bundles in Southwestern Ontario, Ottawa Area, Ontario East and Ontario North.

OLG has done its due diligence in reviewing the responses to gaming RFPQs that have closed and is currently considering service providers who will be eligible to receive the RFP documents. OLG will begin the RFP process for gaming in the coming months by releasing RFP documents to selected service providers.

As part of the RFP process, pre-qualified service providers will, in some cases, be able to propose the construction of a new gaming site anywhere within an OLG-defined geographic Gaming Zone, where there is municipal support.

“It is important to understand the complexity of the decision making about moving a site—or building a new one. Not only does there need to be demonstrated customer interest and a compelling business case that results in increased revenue for the Government of Ontario, there also needs to be a willing municipal host,” said Phillips. “And where there is a slots at racetrack facility, a proposal has to make sense for the horse racing industry. Any new site or relocation of an existing site is subject to final approval from the Ontario government.”

As part of modernization, OLG is continuing to work with the Ontario government and the horse racing sector to integrate horse racing into the provincial gaming strategy. This work includes the development of competitive, customer-appealing products to help grow a sustainable horseracing industry in Ontario for the long-term. OLG is also providing its expertise in marketing and Responsible Gambling.

“Ensuring a vibrant horse racing industry is a critical consideration as OLG modernizes gaming,” said Phillips. “This change is a positive move for Ontario’s horse racing industry because, for the first time, all of the stakeholders are fully engaged in the effort to integrate horse racing into a provincial gaming strategy.”

Modernization will enable OLG to provide additional revenues to the Province to help fund the operation of hospitals and other provincial priorities. At the same time, it could help create jobs in the industry across Ontario and trigger private sector investment.

While the new gaming model includes securing qualified service providers for the day-to-day operation of gaming, OLG will continue to conduct and manage lottery and gaming in Ontario.

OLG will continue to work within the Province’s overall problem gambling strategy to contribute to the prevention and mitigation of problem gambling through its Responsible Gambling program, which is recognized internationally by the World Lottery Association’s certification program. OLG will also require service providers to follow the Responsible Gambling Standards that OLG has developed.

Interested service providers are required to submit proposals for an entire Gaming Bundle as set out in the RFPQ, not for individual Gaming Zones or gaming sites contained within the bundle. This means that service providers are being asked to demonstrate their ability to operate all facilities in a Gaming Bundle.

Service providers interested in the GTA, West GTA and Central Gaming Bundles must respond to the RFPQs by March 13, 2014.


OLG is also launching a RFI to help gauge interest in the marketplace for developing and financing a potential Niagara entertainment centre. It is anticipated that the potential multi-purpose entertainment centre would be similar to, or larger in size and scale, than facilities at Caesars Windsor and Casino Rama.

Parties interested in the potential Niagara entertainment centre must respond to the RFI by March 3, 2014.

The RFI, as well as each of the RFPQs released today, will be available on MERXTM (www.merx.com/olg). MERXTM charges a small fee to download this material.

The following are also available in the media section at OLG.ca:

    • OLG Backgrounder that provides more details regarding the GTA Gaming Bundle


    • OLG Backgrounder that provides more details regarding the RFPQs and OLG’s procurement process


    • OLG Maps of Gaming Bundles


    • Summaries of the RFPQ for each Gaming Bundle announced today


  • OLG Backgrounder that provides more details on a potential Niagara entertainment centre

(Standardbred Canada)

Ministry of Agriculture and Food: Letter from Minister Wynne

Posted by Updates

Sept. 10, 2013

Dear John, Elmer & John:

Thank you for briefing me on the feedback you have received from horse racing and wagering stakeholders on your Draft Plan “Toward a Sustainable Future” released in June 2013. In anticipation of your pending Final Report, I want to ask you to please provide me with a comprehensive Five Year Plan, to be effective April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019. 

Specifically, the Five Year Plan is to incorporate the principles you have previously laid out. I would ask that you present your most comprehensive advice regarding the distribution of the proposed minimum of 800 race days for each of the three breeds by category of racing (i.e. premier, signature, grassroots), including identifying at which tracks these races should be run, their recommended competitive purse levels, and the stable support required for the breeding sector to maximize the economic benefit to Ontario.

I also ask that you recommend a revised governance structure to accomplish the Five Year Plan, including the role of the Ontario Racing Commission and industry associations.

Finally, I require that you establish the specific amount of recommended government investment required during the Five Year Plan to achieve a vibrant, sustainable horse racing industry that is accountable, transparent, customer-focused and of net benefit to the taxpayers of Ontario. This amount should include any necessary re-profiling of the existing Pari-Mutuel Tax Reduction revenues flowing to the racing industry.

I want to reiterate that I require specific recommendations on how to best achieve the integration of gaming and horse racing in Ontario.

I appreciate your collective efforts in the preparation of your reports to date, and your commitment to helping the industry move forward to a sustainable future. We are now in the home stretch. I look forward to seeing you at the finish line.


Kathleen Wynne
Minister of Agriculture and Food

Vaughan Chamber To Host Roundtable On Proposed Casino

Go to vaughanchamber.ca for more information.

ByAdam Martin-Robbins

You won’t know for a while yet which company, if any, hopes to build a casino in Vaughan. In the meantime, those who are interested in bringing such a facility to the city and those opposed are working hard to make their case about the potential benefits and costs of such a facility.  

The Vaughan Chamber of Commerce is hosting a roundtable — Wednesday, Sept. 25 — with Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, who voted in favour of the city becoming a willing host for a casino, and Rod Phillips, president and CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) serving as guest speakers.  

The event, dubbed Building Tomorrow Together, is billed as an information session. It takes place at Bellagio Boutique Event Venue, 8540 Jane St., starting at 7:30 a.m.

Mr. Bevilacqua insists the aim is to discuss all sides of the issue, not solely to trumpet the benefits of bringing a casino to Vaughan.  

“In my case, I understand both sides of the issue,” he said. “I understand how people can be excited by the economic opportunities and I can also understand how people can be disenchanted by some of the social issues that may be associated with a gaming complex.

“That is the spectrum of opinion that exists on this issue. But what people appreciate is a municipal government that engages and, in a very transparent way, promotes an open debate about the issue.”

The members of No Casino Vaughan, on the other hand, are hoping to convince a couple of councillors who voted in favour of hosting a casino  in May, to change their minds.

Mario Racco, co-chairperson of the opposition group, has asked to be granted two hours at a committee of the whole meeting in October to present two studies, along with some other data showing the negative impacts casinos have on communities.

“We want to have the same opportunity to present our case (as the casino proponents and OLG had),” he said.

His group continues to circulate a petition with the aim of amassing thousands of signatures, which it intends to file with the city and at Queen’s Park.

OLG, meanwhile, is getting ready for the launch later this fall of the next phase in a complex and multi-year procurement process, according to Tony Bitonti, a spokesperson for the crown corporation.

That phase, known as the request for pre-qualifications, will determine the company, or companies, that will be invited to bid on operating gambling facilities in the 14 gaming zones across central Ontario — including Vaughan — and parts of southwestern Ontario.

That phase is already under way for 15 other zones across parts of southwestern, eastern and northern Ontario.

During this stage, interested companies submit their qualifications — such as experience in operating gaming facilities, experience in site development as well as financial information — to OLG, Mr. Bitonti said.

Companies that successfully pass through the pre-qualification stage will be invited to participate in the next phase, known as the request for proposal. The companies chosen to run Ontario’s casinos and other gaming facilities will come from this group.

(Vaughan Citizen)

OLG’s Phillips Responds To OHRIA’s Concerns

Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. President & CEO Rod Phillips responded to the concerns raised by the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association recently with a letter dated Monday, June 3rd.

Phillips’ letter appears below:

Re: OHRIA Sounds Alarm Over RFPQ, Sole Bundle Operators

OLG will be working closely with the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel to integrate horse racing into Ontario’s gaming strategy so I’m glad there is attention being paid to the issue. I’m writing to clarify a few issues that have been raised recently.

OLG’s modernization of gaming is an opportunity to bring private sector expertise into our business. OLG’s procurement process was designed very carefully to ensure that it is fair and competitive.

In fact, OLG’s procurement process presents an opportunity for racetracks. Racetrack owners/operators may compete in this public procurement on the same basis as other vendors. Another option is for owners/operators to join with a larger consortium or group to become a partner in a gaming facility. This would mean generating additional revenue (beyond rent) from a facility on racetrack property.

OLG is grouping some of its gaming zones into gaming bundles. The bundles are designed to make the day-to-day operation of the businesses more efficient for service providers. As we know, customers tend to be drawn from geographic areas–and they often visit a number of facilities in the same region. So bundling will allow easier cross-marketing and cooperation between groups of facilities.

It’s important to note that Gaming Bundles will not mean the merging of current or proposed facilities, or Gaming Zones. There will be just one facility in each Gaming Zone.

As part of modernization, OLG is working with the government to ensure that horse racing is integrated with the provincial gaming strategy to ensure future revenue streams for the industry.

OLG is moving forward with approved government policy to help make Ontario’s lottery and gaming industry a long-term success.

When the modernization of lottery and gaming is complete, additional revenue will be available to help fund provincial priorities such as hospitals and municipal infrastructure. In addition, a modern OLG will help create thousands of jobs and drive more than $3 billion in capital investments across Ontario.


Rod Phillips
President and CEO

Last-Minute Talks Avert Strike At Woodbine Slots

Last minute talks on Sunday night averted a strike by Woodbine Racetrack’s OLG slots parlour workers.

Details are available in The Toronto Star story here.

Wynne Fires Paul Godfrey, Entire OLG Board Goes Too

Paul Godfrey has been relieved of his duties as Chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, as of Thursday, May 16th.

The entire OLG Board of Directors subsequently tendered their resignations in sympathy later the same day.

Premier Wynne’s decision can  only be seen as a godsend for Ontario horse racing.  OLG’s avowed ”modernization strategy”  has already ravaged the industry by deliberately leaving racing participants completely out of the mix with the abrupt cancellation of the Slots At Racetracks Program.

Read more details on the OLG shakeup here in The Globe & Mail.

OLG Executive Wages Soar–The Globe & Mail

The Globe & Mail reports that executive salaries at the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. are markedly out of line with compensation at other Crown agencies. OLG executive salaries, it seems,  have increased nearly 50% in the last two years.

OLG also consistently racks up more expenditures to operate its casinos and lotteries than any other province.

Read the full story in the Globe & Mail here.

Ottawa Life: OLG Greed Responsible For Slaughter of Ontario’s Race Horses

“Horses are very expensive to keep. They are part of a business. They must earn money for their owners. So some horses are being put down. Yes, destroyed.”

Ottawa Life columnist Candace Vetter lays the blame for the devastation in Ontario’s standardbred industry squarely at the feet of the OLG.

Those of us with rural roots will find her comments particularly poignant. Read the full story here.

“Devastating Impact” on Woodbine If Vaughan Chosen For Casino–Jane Holmes

Jane Holmes, vice president of Corporate Affairs for the Woodbine Entertainment Group, has gone on the record in regard to the City of Vaughan being added to the ‘C1′ gaming zone within the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s gaming modernization plan.

Vaughan is located just north of WEG’s Woodbine Racetrack, and Holmes cut right to the point in regard to how a Vaughan casino would affect Woodbine Racetrack’s customer base.

“It’s 10 minutes away from here,” a report by the National Post quoted Holmes as saying regarding Vaughan’s close proximity to Woodbine Racetrack, which is located in Rexdale. “Those are our customers.”

Holmes also commented on the situation in a report by citynews.ca, stating, “We fully expect that there would be serious cannibalization of the gaming operations that are here,” if a Vaughan casino becomes a reality.

“Woodbine and its business activities generate over 10,000 jobs for the City of Toronto. It would have [a] devastating impact.”

It was reported by the mainstream media last week that Vaughan was added to the OLG’s C1 gaming zone, which now contains sections of downtown Toronto, south Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

Woodbine Racetrack finds itself plotted in the ‘C2′ gaming zone, which includes surrounding areas in northwestern Toronto and northeastern Mississauga.

Vaughan’s addition the C1 gaming zone apparently came as a surprise to the city’s mayor, Maurizio Bevilacqua, who said he learned about Vaughan’s addition to C1 through the media.

(Standardbred Canada) 

Wynne Says No Special Casino Hosting Fees For Toronto, Deflating OLG Plans

Premier Wynne has instructed the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to use one formula to calculate municipal revenue share for all Ontario municipalities.

The news apparently nixed OLG’s plans to offer the city of Toronto larger proportionate hosting fees.

The CBC provides details and comments from Paul Godfrey in its report available by clicking here.

Darryl Kaplan of Trot Magazine Interviews Kathleen Wynne

Upcoming Stakes Events at WEG Tracks


Blossom - Friday, April 11
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Don Mills - Saturday, April 12
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Youthful - Monday, April 14
3YO C&G Pace FINAL - $30,000

Lifetime Dream - Monday, April 14
4&5YO Mare Trot Leg 2 - $18,000

Celias Counsel - Thursday, April 17
3YO F Trot Leg 1 - $15,000

Don Mills - Saturday, April 19
4&5YO Open Trot Leg 2 - $18,000

Lifetime Dream - Monday, April 21
4&5YO Mare Trot FINAL - $40,000

Tie Silk - Monday, April 21
3YO C&G Trot Leg 1 - $15,000

Celias Counsel - Thursday, April 24
3YO F Trot Leg 2 - $15,000

Princess - Friday, April 25
3YO F Pace Leg 1 - $20,000

The Diplomat - Saturday, April 26
3YO C&G Pace - Leg 1 - $20,000

Don Mills - Saturday, April 26
4&5YO Open Trot FINAL - $40,000

Tie Silk - Monday, April 28
3YO C&G Trot Leg 2 - $15,000