First casino payment for City of Pickering to help fund performing arts centre project

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Published October 21, 2021 at 4:30 pm

A much anticipated first payment of $2,439,575 was awarded to the City of Pickering today by OLG, the first quarterly allotment from the Pickering Casino Resort.

The money represents the city’s share of two months revenue from the casino, which just opened its doors to the public July 26.

Going forward, the next quarterly cheque should be closer to four million dollars, with revenues likely to ramp up as we slowly move out of the pandemic and as the resort expands its footprint.

“OLG is proud to partner with local communities across the Province where we, together with our service providers, create jobs, deliver capital development and offer world-class entertainment in a safe and secure environment,” said OLG’s President and CEO, Duncan Hannay. “We are excited about the new Pickering Casino Resort … and to share in its success with our newest host community, the City of Pickering.”

OLG makes payments to host municipalities under the Municipality Contribution Agreements, using a prescribed formula consistently applied across all sites in Ontario that is based on a graduated scale of gaming revenue at the hosted site.

Under the agreement, municipalities receive:

  • 25 per cent on the first $65 million of slot revenue; 3.0 per cent on the next $135 million; 2.5 per cent on the next $300 million; 0.5% on the slot revenue above $500 million; and
  • 0 per cent of table game revenue

The money will come in handy for the City of Pickering, which has been working on a major ‘City Centre’ project that will see the construction of the Pickering Performing Arts Centre, as well as a new Central Library, a combined seniors/youth centre, a public square and some residential housing as well.

The $207 million project, to be built on lands on the east side of Pickering Town Centre – owned by mall owners Wakefield Properties – and on the south side of The Esplanade – on lands owned by the City – is expected to go to tender next April.

With $3.6 million for the project being funded through reserves, nearly half of the shortfall is expected to be financed through casino payments and the COVID-delayed opening of the resort by some three months cut into that revenue a bit.

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan is optimistic revenues from the resort will ramp up soon and is happy to getting that first cheque.

“We’re proud to host the province’s newest casino and look forward to using this new revenue source to benefit our residents and we are eager to work with OLG to strengthen our community and enhance our municipal service delivery,” Ryan said. “Pickering Casino Resort enhances our city’s reputation as a dynamic destination for visitors from across the GTA and beyond.”

The next payment from the City is expected in mid-January.

The Pickering Performing Arts Centre and City Centre project will be on the agenda for tonight’s special meeting of Council.

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