There was no rush to analyse the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Strategic Business Review. The media gave us the salient features. The report was a no brainer. This blog has been telling you there would be at least one major casino in Toronto very soon. There was nothing prescient about it. It was obvious.
What we did not know was that the OLG report would show readers how incompetent it is. The executive summary should have included the resignations of all the executives involved in this mess. Originally it was assumed that the government asked for this report last summer and said to deliver it sometime after the October election. You are stunned when you read that this material was a year-and-a-half in the making.
It reads as though it took a month for some interviews, two weeks of writing and a year and a half for approvals.
In trying to demonstrate a path to the future, the report tells us what a failure OLG has been. It has not kept up with the needs of the marketplace. It has failed to serve Ontario citizens. It has suffered from political interference. OLG facilities have further confused the market by trying to satisfy the regulators at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and putting political considerations ahead of the wishes of the market.
The report shows that Ontario now has the lowest per capita profit from gambling of any other part of Canada except for Prince Edward Island and the Arctic. That is not only embarrassing but shows the incompetence of everyone involved.
The report freely admits that the OLG has failed to keep up with technology, changing consumer preferences and tourism patterns. What they have been doing, we are not told.
Now the OLG wants us to let them do more. Whether it should be done under new management, is the important question.
It is amusing to note that Toronto is going to get a casino while the report insists municipalities have a veto on facilities in their backyards. If we want to give municipalities the right to reject legal casino’s maybe we could let them to reject pay-day loan leeches and tattoo parlours at the same time. Mind you, casinos provide far more in taxes and employment benefits to the community.
Maybe the report is being too subtle when it mentions that the AGCO is also involved in overseeing gambling in the province. Since the OLG wants to just oversee it and leave the operations to the private sector, we might have one to many overseers here.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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