OLG’s changing future makes front page news Tuesday, February 26, 2013 by: Rick McGee
Impending changes at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation are the subject of a major front page story in yesterday’s print edition of the The Globe and Mail.
According to the piece, the province’s crippling debt and deficit problems mean more money has to come from the lottery sector to help protect public services.
Current estimates place the provincial deficit at just under $11.9 billion.
Ontario’s publicly held debt was $259.7 billion at December 31, 2012.
Among other things, the article looks at changing how and where players buy lottery tickets.
OLG Chief Operating Officer Rod Philips discusses moving away from traditional sales outlets when online financial transactions have become part of daily life.
The OLG’s failure to keep pace in a changing world means declining revenues are possible unless things are done differently.
Possible growth strategies include targeting 18- to 44-year-olds and women.
Privatization is viewed as a key part of efforts to modernize and boost profits.
The first contract is expected to be awarded later this year.
A company called Camelot Group PLC appears to be a front-runner.
The article also indicates that privatization is seen as a way to deal with fallout from past insider win scandals and indications of questionable spending practices.
To read the full article, click here.
Meanwhile, the prospect of significant OLG changes also appears in a second February 25, 2013, Globe and Mail article.
It focuses on Tory Leader Tim Hudak and the provincial PCs' preparations for an Ontario election.
That story reports that Hudak wants to “pull the government out of gambling operations.”
Brianne 2/26/2013 12:40:49 PM Report
"Possible growth strategies include targeting 18- to 44-year-olds and women."
Yup, lets get them all hooked on gambling.
od1exx 2/26/2013 1:27:13 PM Report
From what I have heard from everyone who has ever worked there is that no one does anything. You stick to your TINY little area of responsibility and you never venture outwards from there. If you take initiative and go above and beyond what you are supposed to do you are reprimanded because you are making everyone else look bad.
Maybe a proper growth strategy would be to evaluate the work load of your employees. The problem with government versus private industry is that it takes 10 government workers to do the same work as a single private industry employee.
In fact, this is the problem with many government services; employees are not being utilized effectively. OLG in Sault Ste Marie is an embarrassment to IT and at this point I would rather take my tax dollars elsewhere.
Stevie-E 2/26/2013 1:35:00 PM Report
You know what Brianne...do you drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes? This is another revenue source for government, just like the tax on our precious drink or smoke.
People have a choice, to gamble or not to gamble, just as they do to drink, smoke, etc.
I really wish people would think before they post something so narrow-minded. If you become addicted, it's your own fault. I believe they have done a lot for the public through proper education and support programs.
Everyone has a choice and by eliminating everything is not the answer, especially in these times. We are not a communist country. If you want the government to make choices for you so you can't stray too far off the path, go move to Russia.
AndyCap 2/26/2013 1:35:48 PM Report
Possible growth strategies? This has been the target audience strategy for years. Camelot was purchased by the Ontario Teachers pension 3 years ago. Modernization has nothing to due with declining profits or an increasing deficit. OLG has record breaking profits year after year. This is a political agenda for personal interests. The province will suffer job and lottery revenue loss long term. Ontario's improvement plan is to ram booze and gambling down peoples throat while selling off jobs to private companies.
AndyCap 2/26/2013 2:09:39 PM Report
@Stevie-E why dont you take your own advice and think before you post. With your mentality the government should legalize crack and heroin and if you become addicted its your own fault. Im glad you think OLG has done a good job through support programs. I personally feel its a huge hypocrisy and gross waste of tax dollars. Addiction is a huge problem for many people (im not one of them. Sure the revenue on lottery goes to a lot of good causes but that same revenue would have been spent on consumer purchases which would have also aided in job growth for local business as well as go towards taxes
troubador 2/26/2013 2:35:50 PM Report
The Government say they want out of gambling, but it won't take long ,if they do ,to start taxing winnings,,,I'll bet ..
khari 2/26/2013 2:50:10 PM Report
Well said AndyCap.
honda1984 2/26/2013 2:55:56 PM Report
another good point as to how the goverment can screw up a cash cow.free money for them and they still cant make a profit
danno2257 2/26/2013 3:36:49 PM Report
Stevie-E you are right out of touch the most educated can get addicted you are lost!
Norm 2/26/2013 3:59:55 PM Report
Drinking, gambling, smoking, especially smoking, can, and has, torn a lot of lives apart. Not sure if targeting certain people is the way to create more revenue. The government could, but will not, look at the dollars they have wasted in a most ridiculous manner.
mrbreakseverything 2/26/2013 4:00:29 PM Report
why are we selling the corporations that do make money to private companies lose these reveues and how do we replace them higher taxes or higher fees on all required liscences gonna sell off lcbo too the wasteful spending needs to stop
razer 2/26/2013 4:19:57 PM Report
You are exactly right Norm, it has torn families apart .. and many times in order for ppl to recover from a gambling addiction they seek treatment. Treatment that is paid for by OHIP. So ,,, let me get this straight ,, our government is now purposefully going to target young persons into developing a gambling addiction, that may have an immediate detrimental impact on their becoming contributing members of society. As well as, woman. Woman that are mothers .. woman that are already struggling to meet the needs of their children's appetites, home care and their family responsibilities. Then they are going to spend 6 times the money to help them to recover from an addiction that they caused. 80% of persons that enter into a treatment program are not completely helped the first time, and return for a second time. With the expense being covered by OHIP. And the government wonders why the peoples have no faith? Where is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people?
Stevie-E 2/27/2013 8:40:26 AM Report
AndyCap 2/26/2013 2:09:39 PM Report
"With your mentality the government should legalize crack and heroin and if you become addicted its your own fault"
Your quote above shows the mentality of most people commenting on this topic...which is absolutely ridiculous. Did I ever say the government should legalize narcotics (except marijuana, which should be declassified as such)?
The government is a business and has every right to operate as such. As I said before, everyone has a choice and if some choose to let themselves become addicted, that's their problem. Family and friends also play a role in spotting behaviour of others.
Oh and to the person said that they are struggling to pay for their children's meals and care, DON'T GO TO THE CASINO OR GAMBLE! I swear, people really should think before they type.
It's all about self control, and those against this obviously don't have any. It's entertainment people! I can afford to go once in a while but don't have an urge to go. People that feel they need to go have deeper-rooted issues that need to be addressed.
What about people that are addicted to food? Should we ban all junk food because it causes health problems? There's many that can definitely afford to make the switch to gambling instead of food, that's for sure.
LJJ 2/27/2013 12:52:39 PM Report
I used to think exactly like you. I condemned people with addictions and didn't understand how anyone could possibly become addicted to gambling…until it happened to a family member. I had no idea what was going on but I knew something was wrong. Once I found out, it was too late.
I have now walked in those shoes and condemn no one. It is probably one of the greatest lessons to be learned. Don't judge until you have walked in those shoes. It would do you some good to take that walk and perhaps you would not be so narrow minded.
Stevie-E 2/27/2013 2:20:13 PM Report
I am sorry you had to go through that but don't put words into my mouth. I was never condemning people for having addiction but merely making a point that we shouldn't have to suffer for a small amount of people.
There's help available for all types of addictions, but that doesn't mean take away access to all things addicting!
Cutting the rest of the population off because a small percentage are addicted is ruining an opportunity for increased revenues for the province.
As I said before, people have a choice and have the ability to help themselves. The world poses a lot of challenges and today's adult should be able to distinguish right from wrong and the consequences of their actions and how those actions affect their family, friends, financial situation, etc.
Sorry if the rest of you guys think I am an a**hole...I've been called worse.
I am just a realist and welcome business in any shape or form, whether others think it's right or wrong.
danno2257 2/27/2013 6:41:09 PM Report
Stevie your are so far out of touch you can't be helped,just like some addicts you are a minority do you not wonder why most don't see it your way ,wakeup.
LJJ 2/28/2013 1:08:41 AM Report
You certainly don't understand. What you are saying needs to be examined more closely.
How much research have you done on this subject?
I can tell you years ago I spoke to my MP's assistant and he sounded just like you. After about an hour of discussion, he started to understand and then he started asking questions and he started to catch on and told me the discussion had changed his mind. (more like opened it)
You see it's not a small percentage of people that gambling affects, it's hundreds of thousands. Most will not admit to it because they are extremely ashamed and they cannot or will not believe it happened to them. The government relies on that fact. Check the figures. There are almost half a million moderate to severe problem gamblers in this province alone. Each one of those affects approximately 10 more people, family members, friends, co-workers, employers, employees, social service workers, doctors, the courts and in some cases funeral directors and morgues.
Try to get help. Call the gambling help line and see how many agencies they refer you and just how much help is actually out there. You may be surprised. I believe you take the government at it's word and obligation that it is supposed to help it's citizens. Good government does not fleece it's citizens and then tell them how much good it is doing for the population.
I don't think I would use the word suffering because you cannot go to a casino. By all means go, but heed the warnings. That is part of the problem. The government used to broadcast those warnings but they proved too effective. I haven't seen one of those ads in years.
The government does not need any more money, they need to manage what they have and learn to govern not waste. You don't have to look very hard to find extravagance at the expense of the general population. There is no excuse for poverty in this country.
The problem I face now is that the result of gambling is unemployment. Our family tried to get back on our feet but being in our 50's there was not enough time to undo the damage. We are now both about retirement age. I am living on my RRSPs although I am not yet 65. I am lucky to have that. I have nothing else. He has a small pension. We still have debt. We have become liabilities although we have both worked all of our lives. My RRSP's will run out soon. CPP and OAS will become our only source of income. We will join the other low income seniors trying to survive. (many who are targeted by casinos)
We were once upon a time productive citizens, we paid taxes, we went out and enjoyed ourselves, we contributed to the economy. That doesn't happen anymore.
I still think about an elderly lady I met at a GA meeting. This lovely woman was a widow and her husband had left her well off. But she was a gambler. She had a male friend who desperately tried to stop her but after a couple of years realized there was nothing he could do. He walked away from the relationship.
Although I don't know what happened to either of them I can tell you the path she was on was total devastation. I would imagine she now has nothing left. Tell me, who picks up the pieces? Who really pays in the end. They say a problem gambler costs society $52,000.00. But a comprehensive study has yet to be done. Why do you think that is? Perhaps they won't like the answers they get. I can also tell you about two studies that were commissioned by the government, but never publicized. They didn't like the results.
Tell me this. Will increased gambling revenues solve the financial crisis wherein so many governments seem to find themselves? The boom and bust economy is something man has created and has the power to control and change. They just don't have the will. Where does the current economic path lead us? How does this fix the problems? The fundamentals of "business" are in crisis because of the way "business" has been practised. Unfortunately, as in Dickens story Scrooge, Scrooge said to Marley, just before he died, that "he was just a good man of business" but Marley replied, "business??? business??? Mankind was my business…we haven't learned the lessons and we just keep making the same mistakes. Check out history and look a little more closely.
Stevie-E 2/28/2013 6:51:56 AM Report
danno and LJJ,
While you attempt to make valid points, all I see is that you are trying to deflect blame away from you or a family member when it's the person's problem...but hey they have big shoulders so of course let's blame the government!
Listen, I have also had a member of my family with an addiction. You know what??! Ultimatums were given and I didn't blame the government for not having "more oversight", I blamed the individual. If I became addicted to gambling or what have you, I would also blame myself. You are the one's out of touch.
I have never let myself become addicted to anything in my life, except for free hugs and smiles!
AndyCap 2/28/2013 10:08:54 AM Report
@Stevie. Yes I do think they should ban fast food. Id miss it but I think the good that would come from banning it far outweighs the tasty goodness i get from eating it once and awhile
AndyCap 2/28/2013 10:18:49 AM Report
@Stevie..I dont think your an a###hole. I like that you have your own opinion and express it freely even though we may disagree. I agree that adults should take some responsibility for their own actions but when the government portrays something as socially acceptable I understand how some people get duped into believing it
LJJ 2/28/2013 11:41:08 AM Report
ok Steve-E you have made your points. I hope your family member shakes their addiction (I would be interested in what kind addiction it was?) however you still need to do some research. There is a big downside that is not being examined. An addicted person may or may not take the ultimatum. They may or may not get help. But a government that tells people how much good the OLG is doing while people are still committing suicide in casinos and elsewhere is not government for people. They have decided that some of society is dispensable for the benefit of the majority. That sounds incredibly familiar but not in enlightened democracies.
As has been said many times we have a government addicted to casino revenue and now they want to open it up to more private enterprises. Look into organized crime - this is right down their alley.
Really, what it comes down to is asking yourself what kind of society do we want and are we getting there with this kind of attitude and behaviour? Surely we have the intelligence to be able to do something more productive than to prey on peoples' weaknesses in order to increase the bottom line for government and business. At least regulate it the way they do tobacco and alcohol, neither of which is the property of government, unlike the OLG.
There are studies proving that most of what government receives in gambling revenue comes from problem or compulsive gamblers. Those people are targeted with gifts and perks and special venues. Yet the OLG supports the Responsible Gambling Council through other government departments. No conflict there!
Yes people are responsible for their own behaviour but as a society we are responsible for the society we get. What will government do when they run out of addicts? They are trying to "modernize" (meaning get more, people, money, addicts) but they are on a never ending quest? When is more, enough? It never will be until we change our attitudes.