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The OLG's Modernization Plans Judged Harshly By The Auditor General

By: Russell Potvin , Tues. Aug 05, 2014

Auditor General Criticizes OLG Modernization

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has been making and planning bold moves to ensure that their business keeps pace with the future of gambling in Canada.

Despite plans made to move the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's business model forward to keep pace with their customer base and technology, Bonnie Lysyk, the Auditor General for Ontario, has criticized the entire movement. This move forward for the company came at the expense of a downgrade to programs surrounding horse racing in the province, which Lysyk was quick to point out and condemn.

With a snap election coming after the new budget was struck down in Queen's Park, this will give one more item for the opposition to the current Liberal government, headed by Kathleen Wynne who was a member of Premier Dalton McGuinty's cabinet when this call was made, to use against them. The savings of cutting one program and earnings of the new one fell short of projections by a considerable amount, both ending up costing Ontario far more than was earned.

Cancellation of the racetrack slot machine program has resulted in a lawsuit that demands reparations for the damages done to the businesses as well as a half million dollars in support payments for the tracks through the transition. Above this is the reeling back of the estimated contribution to the province from $1 billion dollars per year to only $600 million, a 40% rollback. This alone was enough for the Auditor General to call it a failure for all involved. "The government and OLG did not do enough preparation and planning before launching an ambitious, 'best-case scenario' modernization plan for Ontario's gaming industry," she said.

Another part of the failing of the modernization of the provincially controlled gambling systems was the push back received from the city councils in some of the areas where twelve new privately run casinos were planned to be built. Toronto and Ottawa, two of the largest cities in the whole country had either completely turned away the plan or made changes to it in such a way that it made more sense for the interests of their populations, not the government's financial projections. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's plans for the future and promises to the province of Ontario managed to all but collapse under their own weight while under the eye of the current reigning party; this will no doubt be held against them once campaign ads start rolling around.