It’s the greed that keeps on growing. Premier Doug Ford wants Ontario to step up its gambling. If the pandemic keeps the casinos closed, feel free to try your luck on-line. What is your pleasure? Casino games, blackjack, craps, poker, pai gow, roulette and slot machine simulations or new sports betting, just name your passion. And make sure that premier Doug gets his cut of the take.
And our premier is not thinking small. The Ontario government wants a share of the potential on-line billions. He and his government are betting that we will trust the Ontario-based on-line casinos over the off-shore breed. The government estimates that the on-line market in Ontario is worth at least a billion dollars a year, while the industry downplays it as about half a billion.
With Ontario casinos closed for the pandemic, the government is obviously hurting. Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) cannot do its job. And don’t look too surprised in the next month or so if Rod Phillips, former MPP and long-term care minister, shows up as head of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission or running its new iGame Ontario operations. The job will be to get the gaming gravy train moving again.
And with reputable sponsors such as the Toronto Star operators offering to front for one of the iGame Ontario licensees, there are some positive indicators.
What might also help to swing Ontario to the on-line versions will be the short-sightedness of the large Ontario casino managers. Neither Great Canadian Gaming nor Gateway Casinos and Entertainment are good at customer facing. They seem bent on eliminating many of the dealers and customer services on their gambling floors. Neither company will entertain having fully staffed craps tables despite the proven draw of craps in places like Las Vegas. Both companies will be pushing large electronic versions of customer favourites such as blackjack, roulette, and craps when back in operation.
There is a great draw for people in the noise and excitement of casinos and their table games. If all the government wants is our money, why bother?
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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