The London experience in gaming tables is going provincewide.
Two electronic gaming tables test marketed at Western Fair District’s OLG Slots will be installed across Ontario after proving popular here, the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corp. announced Wednesday.
And not everyone is happy.
The move to add at least 260 more gambling seats will worsen an already serious gambling addiction in Ontario, and youth are the targets, said Lori Griffith, co-ordinator of core programs at Addiction Services Thames Valley.
“There is an expansion of lotteries and gaming going on — it is their strategy,” Griffith said.
About 330,000 people across Ontario are being treated for gambling addiction.
“With this expansion we will see more young people with problems,” Griffith said.
PokerPro and BlackJack Pro tables will go to five racetracks in Ontario in addition to Western Fair District. Twenty-six PokerPro tables will be installed, with 10 seats each, as well as some BlackJack Pro tables, OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti said.
“We test in various markets and London is a good place,” Bitonti said. “I know London and Western Fair are good sites — there have been other tests for us there on slot machines.”
The games feature players playing poker and blackjack with an electronic dealer on a computerized system. Players make plays using a touch screen.
The test run began last December. The results went to an OLG review committee and the expansion was approved.
“We are responding to what customers want. We are in the entertainment field and we have to innovate,” Bitonti said.
There’s also a chance the tracks could become full casinos and the OLG has to be prepared with more gaming options, he added.
Western Fair District’s slots facility isn’t allowed table games with dealers because it isn’t licensed for them, but electronic games are allowed.
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The six sites where the gaming tables will be located:
Western Fair District, London
Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville
Sudbury Downs, Chelmsford
Georgian Downs, Innisfil
Rideau Carleton Raceway, Gloucester
Woodbine Raceway, Toronto