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Sault Ste. Marie takes its gaming seriously

Monday, December 02, 2013   by: Darren Taylor

City Council approved a resolution at its Monday meeting to allow the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) to access up to $150,000 from the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) in its bid to be a player in the digital gaming industry.

With the resolution, a Digital Gaming Task Force will be established, composed of representatives from the Innovation Centre, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC), Sault College, Algoma University and other public and private sector partners when necessary.

The project involves a partnership between the Innovation Centre and the Canadian Bank Note Company (CBN).  

The three main goals of the project are to develop an advanced e-bingo platform, development of a Game Development Kit for companies to develop play on demand (PoD) games to operate on the e-bingo platform, and the creation of six PoD games.

The EDC anticipates the project, based at the Innovation Centre, will help CBN expand its Sault Ste. Marie office, creating jobs both at CBN and the Innovation Centre.

It is projected by the EDC that 10 new highly skilled jobs will be created while maintaining over 20 existing jobs in Sault Ste. Marie.

That ties in with the Innovation Centre’s aim to generate information technology-oriented jobs in Sault Ste. Marie.

Created in 1999, the Centre has been involved in several projects, such as the Community Geomatics Centre, the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN), Algoma Games for Health, Smart Energy Strategy and functioning as a business incubator for the science and technology sector.

The project’s inception comes as Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG), one of the Sault’s major employers, goes through a modernization process.

City leaders such as Mayor Debbie Amaroso and the EDC are pushing hard to promote the Sault and its OLG office (officially considered as the OLG head office) and the experienced lottery and gaming staff and expertise already on hand as the ideal fit for private sector companies interested in taking over portions of OLG operations in the modernization process.      

The SSMIC/CBN “Next Generation Lottery and Gaming” collaboration is described by the EDC as a two-year project to begin with, with an overall cost of over $2,485,000 for labour costs, equipment, game development, in-kind services and marketing materials.

Along with the City contribution of up to $150,000, CBN and the Innovation Centre are contributing their own funding, with additional funding applications in to Destiny Sault Ste. Marie and the provincial government.  

 

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New Centurion 12/2/2013 10:06:30 PM Report

Have no fear citizens, if there is a chance to get a hold of public money,the Innovation Centre will be there!
sportsfan17 12/2/2013 10:18:14 PM Report

And Centurion, they'll be there to create the jobs they are talking about!

Many of you from the peanut gallery here on SooToday comment on the loss of youth in this community. Well as a YOUNG working professional employed at one of the aforementioned community partners, I can comment on the number of YOUNG, employed professionals at both the Geomatics Centre AND Algoma Games for Health, not to mention the Innovation Centre itself.

So stuff it in your pipe, smoke it and shaaaaaaddup!
Wisenheimer 12/2/2013 10:31:31 PM Report

James Dunn and Francis Clerque will be rolling over in their graves, if gaming is the best we can come up with for this city. Squeeze the remaining citizens for every nickle. Then what?
New Centurion 12/2/2013 10:57:03 PM Report

Lemme tell you how this story is going to end sportsfan, as your sense of perspective is likely skewed by circumstance:

A few years will go by, there will be some meetings, a few people might go to a convention or something, lots of talk will occur about momentum etc...but nothing that resembles success in any tangible form will occur.

All those Innovation Centre outfits and offshoots you mention are all mostly or entirely dependent on the public purse in some form or another. And eventually the music is going to stop in the game of funding musical chairs. And when it does, we'll see which ones are left without a seat.
Thim 12/3/2013 7:41:41 AM Report

Irresponsible use of public money. Betcha this is more to keep staff on a payroll than actually promote anything such as this...and whata choice to pour our money into.
Thim 12/3/2013 7:53:37 AM Report

I was at a City Council mtg where they approved monies to study area farming and maple syrup production.
Fata was the only one who stood against this nonsense, arguing that our local maple syrup producers were already very advanced in the field and that Mennonites have already taken over area farms that were becoming grown over and didn't need these people to study them with the idea of making them better at their profession.

But council passed the motion even after Fata's logical arguements.

Again, this appeared to be more a securing of funding for their existance rather than a study of didley squat.
debbiedoo 12/3/2013 8:23:30 AM Report

Just two thoughts:

1. If this was such a positive avenue why isn't OLG pursuing it? Afterall they're the ones in the "egaming" business to begin with - they would've been doing it by now. Our council shouldn't be spending any of our monies towards a venture such as this no matter if it's going to create jobs or not.

2. If this is in fact connected with private companies by way of the modernization process, then the private companies should be using their own resources to fund such a study. Council needs to use this "public" money for better infrastructure other than an egame platform. I'm sure if we look around the city, there are areas where this funding could be more effectively used.

It sounds like it's more like "protecting jobs" rather than "creating jobs"

B Boy 12/3/2013 8:32:22 AM Report

My "friend" works for the innovation centre and when we get together and talk shop he says every time that they are never busy and rarely have stuff to do.

When they do have projects that involve the city he said they are very poorly run and the data is terrible.
Outside Observer 12/3/2013 10:46:17 AM Report

$150,000 is peanuts. If it creates 10 jobs as projected, great. Even if it only creates 5 jobs, great (and even if only a couple come from CBNC great). That's a couple more jobs for the people of Sault Ste. Marie.

People are constantly complaining that the City and Council are not doing enough and that the city is deteriorating. Except when it does do something, the same people complain about it as a waste. In the real world, you have to spend money to make money (even with respect to a city trying to make money for its citizens).
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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. Keep discussions civil and on topic. Refrain from obscenity and don't post anything that your grandmother would be ashamed to read. Those who do not abide by these guidelines will have their membership revoked without notice. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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