NDP candidate Celia Ross raised additional concerns about the OLG modernization plan and the impact that it may have on Sault Ste. Marie.
“Over the long term, outsourcing at OLG will lead to more job losses in Sault Ste. Marie. There is no evidence whatsoever that outsourcing will contribute to any job growth or increased revenue for the OLG” said Ross. “The only people who stand to gain from outsourcing are the people buying up our assets, who can then make a killing by driving down wages and benefits. It will send more profits out of town on the backs of local employees.”
Outsourcing casino management would also allow the Sault Ste. Marie casino to be moved elsewhere in Northern Ontario, which would add to the hundreds of job losses the Auditor General expected would hit the OLG head office in Sault Ste. Marie.
Slowing growth was part of the reason cited for the modernization initiative, which encouraged expanding private sector delivery of lottery and gaming. But while sales continue to rise for the OLG as a whole, casinos that had been outsourced to private managers, such as the Windsor Casino run by Caesar’s, were faltering.
The new revenue sharing formula for OLG Bingo Halls is another example of a modernization plan that doesn’t make sense. Where the previous funding arrangement saw the province retain 75% of revenues, the ‘modernized’ scheme sees only a quarter going to the OLG and another quarter to local charities. Taking home 47% of the revenue, the big winners in the deal are the private operators like Boardwalk Gaming, owned by Larry Tanenbaum, who operate two and own shares in a third OLG Bingo Hall. Tanenbaum is coincidentally the former National Revenue Chair of the Liberal Party of Canada.
“Once again we have the government speaking out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to the OLG,” said Ross. “The handling of OLG modernization is a scandal in the making. With millions of dollars a year in potential revenue that could be lost, the final price tag could make the gas plant scandals look like peanuts.”
In a media release on Monday, Sault Ste. Marie Liberal candidate insisted “OLG jobs […] are here to stay,” however he did not specify how many. Once again Orazietti is refusing to rule out job losses in Sault Ste. Marie.
“David Orazietti and the Liberals can’t be trusted on jobs, on OLG, or on their own record of corruption. The Liberals just can’t be trusted at all.”