The city of Pickering, Ontario, Canada has officially signed an agreement to give a portion of its casino gaming profits to Durham Region, becoming the first city in Ontario to do so.
Furthermore, Durham should use the money for social housing projects.
The long-awaited plan:
The plan to give a portion of the hosting income to the upper tier municipality has been brewing since Great Canadian Gaming officially reported its plan to construct a casino at the Durham Live site in Pickering, close to the Ajax border, in 2018.
Five years ago, the city of Pickering officially decided to split its casino profits as soon as the construction of the Pickering Casino Resort was completed.
Fortunately, that occurred earlier this year with the official opening of the 275-room hotel and 2,500-seat arena, paving the way for this report.
On that note, Pickering Major Kevin Ashe said at the signing ceremony: “We are taking a proactive step towards building a stronger, more equitable community for all, by sharing our casino gaming revenues with the Region of Durham.
“Together, we can make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need and create a brighter future for residents across our region.”
Since Pickering Casino Resort officially opened in July 2021, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has rewarded over $20.2 million in tax-free gaming income for hosting rights.
Under the new agreement, retroactive to January 1, Pickering will keep the first $10 million in profits from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, then share the balance equally with Durham Region, capped at $8 million a year.
Moreover, out of an estimated $16 million in casino payouts every year, Durham will have $3 million a year under the arrangement.
Commenting on the deal, Durham Chairman John Henry said: “The deal is an exciting partnership and I expect it to be renewed at the end of the contract in 2026. This new opportunity will provide exceptional value to Durham taxpayers. It’s a partnership designed to offer responsive, effective, and fiscally sustainable service delivery; focused on the delivery of exceptional quality services and value.”
Durham is not obligated by law to use part of the profits for social housing projects:
Due to its role as an upper level municipality, Durham Region has a duty to provide social housing.
On that note, before the official signing of the contract, Pickering openly proposed that part of the profits be shared with Durham for social housing and other social programs.
However, according to the memorandum of understanding, Durham is not legally obligated to do so.
Allegedly, the city’s income is:
- 5,25 percent of the first $65 million in slot income;
- 3 percent of slot income between $65 million and $200 million;
- 2,5 percent of slot income between $200 million and $500 million;
- .5 percent over $500 million.
Moreover, the city is also rewarded 4 percent of live table games and 4 percent of sportsbook income.