In the midst of the debate over whether or not the city wants a new casino, Ontario Lottery and Gaming is sweetening the pot for Ottawa.
OLG released a proposed new slot machine revenue sharing model on Wednesday that would see Ottawa rake in an additional $1.3 million in gambling revenue per year.
That number is based on the amount of slot machines currently in the city – 1,275. If an expanded gambling hall with 2,000 slots opened in the city, and revenues increased by 40 per cent as OLG estimates, the city’s cut would be closer to $7.3 million – an increase of $3 million over last year.
“We felt that this new formula, that’s strictly based on revenue, not on the number of machines … is a little fairer,” said Tony Bitonti, a spokesman for OLG.
“Most places will either maintain the same level of funding, which is good, or in some cases (and) with more machines, they’ll get a little bit more money.”
But Coun. Diane Deans, an opponent of the casino idea, sees diminishing returns in the OLG’s proposal.
“The larger or more successful the casino is, the smaller percentage of the take (for the city),” Deans said.
Under the new system, 5.25 per cent of the first $65 million goes to the city, then three per cent on the next $135 million, then 2.5 per cent on the next $300 million. The city gets 0.5 per cent of any remaining slot revenue.
“It’s surprising that they’re asking us for a larger venue, but it’s the law of diminishing returns,” Deans said. “The more net revenue there is, the smaller percentage of the take the municipality gets.”