The Point Edward Casino official changed hands today. Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, a B.C. based company, is now the owner and operator of the waterfront casino previously owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).
“Gateway plans to invest over 200 million dollars to revitalize and enhance the gaming and entertainment landscape,” said Gabriel de Alba, Gateway’s executive chairman.
Gateway has signed a 20 year deal with the Ontario government and has also purchased the OLG slot machine operations in Dresden, Clinton, Hanover, London, and Woodstock.
“Today is a very exciting day and an important milestone for Gateway as we expand our footprint into Ontario with the completion of the transition process in Southwestern Ontario,” said Tony Santo, Gateway’s chief executive officer.
The sale, which has been in the works for months, is part of OLG’s modernization program, said Tony Bitontio, an OLG spokesperson.
OLG’s modernization plan is largely concerned with saving government money.
“We want the capital cost of running the casino away from the taxpayers of Ontario,” said Bitontio.
Now, Gateway is responsible for the day-to-day cost of running the casino.
OLG will maintain an oversight role at the casino to ensure the new owner is abiding by all rules and regulations such as the responsible gambling program standards, said Bitontio.
Payments to host municipalities will continue to come from OLG. This is important in municipalities like Point Edward, which saw 35 per cent of its total 2014 revenue come from casino revenue – more than 2.3 million dollars.
Point Edward is looking forward to the new ownership, said village CAO Jim Burns.
“We understand they are going to make some changes and we look forward to finding out what those changes are,” said Burns. “We will work together on having some economic development in the community and tourism in the area.”
The deal has made Gateway Canada’s largest and most diversified gaming company.
A customer celebration will be held on June 22nd at all Gateway sites in Ontario including new promotions and prizes, live entertainment, Gateway merchandise giveaways, and food and drink specials.