Ontario’s gambling modernization strategy promised increased revenues for local municipalities that host OLG regulated casinos within their jurisdictions. The strategy initially called for the construction of new privatized casinos within the province’s larger municipalities, as well as improved revenue sharing agreements with existing gambling facilities.
Niagara Falls was one of the communities that stood to gain the most from the OLG plan. The community is home to two of Ontario’s largest casinos, Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara, which are also renowned as two of the most popular casino entertainment centres for tourists.
Under the old OLG terms, Niagara received $3 million annually in the form of a hosting fee, which was a reimbursement by the Ontario government. But under the new agreement, Niagara Falls will receive between $18 million and $20 million from the OLG every year.
The beginning of 2014 injected a large cash sum into the Niagara budget with $4.78 million paid out by the OLG on January 21. The community received larger reimbursements in the second and third quarters of 2013 when the new revenue sharing agreement took effect.
2014 will be the first full year that Niagara Falls receives its full compensation under the new OLG agreement, and the community already has plans for the greater share of money. OLG revenue will help construct a new hospital near the southern border of Niagara Falls, as well as contribute to infrastructure development.
The OLG also promises that the revenue sharing plan will help create over 6,000 net new jobs across Ontario, and the unemployment rate in Niagara Falls will be one of the communities to greatly improve from the new revenue plans.