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Changes Coming To Ontario Gambling Industry

The landscape of the Canadian gambling industry is changing rapidly and provinces are scrambling to keep up with the fast-moving industry. The Ontario government has become the latest to propose changes that would help the province increase annual tax revenue from gaming.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp has unveiled their plan to restructure their gaming strategy. Among the most important changes are relocation of some gaming outlets, and the elimination of others that are not performing up to industry standards. Online gambling will also become a big factor in the attempt to increase revenue.

Over the past year, several provinces have made the move into the online gambling industry. Allowing lottery sales online, with the addition of online casinos, has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and Ontario is prepared to tap into the revenue producer that is Internet gambling.

At a time when job creation is tough around the world, online gambling has become a source of revenue and employment opportunities for governments. The US, considered the largest online gambling market in the world, despite the fact that the activity is not regulated, has several states that have authorized online casinos. Nevada is again leading the way in the US, and Ontario is hoping to be one of the leaders in the industry in Canada.

"With its new business strategy, OLG will increase its revenues by more that $1 billion a year," said Finance Minister Dwight Duncan. "It will also create more than 2,300 net new jobs in the gaming industry and nearly 4,000 additional jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors by 2017-18."

The province is not moving forward without caution. Ontario officials say they will discuss any new casino proposals with local governments to ensure that the casinos are a wanted commodity. Toronto is expected to be a key piece to the expansion puzzle, with about 40 percent of the new revenue estimation coming from a new gaming facility in Toronto.

"We are looking across all Ontario," said Godfrey. "And there'll be gaming zones developments where these kind of facilities will be looked at, but always in consultation with the municipal council. If a municipal council says to us they don't want it, they won't get it."

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