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Report estimates a 25-per-cent future job loss at Gateway Casino due to proposed electronic gaming changes

In July, the Ford government announced iGaming Ontario, an agency that will oversee electronic gaming in the province
File photo shows Gateway Casino Sault Ste. Marie sign on Bay Street. Carol Martin/SooToday

A new report estimates that open-license electronic gaming could cost the city of Sault Ste. Marie $1.9 million over five years and result in job losses at the local casino.

The report, titled Ontario Gaming Market Assessment Draft Results, was created by HLT Advisory Inc. for Great Canadian Gaming, a private company with the greatest share of the province’s casino market.

Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie is owned by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited.

The focus of the 130-page report is to determine what the market for land-based casinos will look like if the province decides on implementing open license e-gaming model, which would have no limits on the number of licenses granted.

In July, the Ford government announced iGaming Ontario, an agency that will oversee electronic gaming in the province.

According to the report, Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie currently has 340 slot machines in the 30 Bay St. location, which it says would be impacted by the possible implementation of the open license model.

Land-based casinos must give 55 per cent of net gambling proceeds to the province through Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG).

Currently, the casino pays out about $1.4 million annually to the city of Sault Ste. Marie, which is paid quarterly. Most recently the third quarter payment made by OLG to the city totalled $273,611, despite all casinos in the province being closed since Jan. 3.

If open license system for iGaming is put in place, the report estimates it would result in the annual casino payment dropping to about $1 million per year for a total loss of about $1.9 million over five years.

The expected decrease in casino business would also result in about 15 job losses, said the report. Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie currently employs an estimated 58 full-time equivalency (FTE) positions and is estimated to drop to about 42 if open licensing were implemented.

According to the report, that job loss could climb to 2,500 when considering all land-based casinos across the province.

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Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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