Leaders still shadow-boxing with Offshore Ontario Online Casinos

Can OLG compete with Ontario Online CasinosThe Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has spent more than 40 years bringing extra income into the province’s budgetary rucksack. In January 2015, the gaming regulator took its first stab at competing with offshore Ontario online casinos by launching its own iGaming website. Now two years later, OLG is pushing hard for upgrades as live and internet gaming revenue falters.

The OLG calls it a ‘modernization‘ plan, claiming that the province must play catch-up to current trends in order to reverse the steady decline. It named a list of reasons why revenue continues to fall, and seemingly simple modern updates to turn things around.

Unregulated Ontario Online Casinos

Not surprisingly, the list was topped by the presence of internationally operated Ontario online casinos.

“The internet has opened a significant market for online gaming. Ontarians currently spend at least $400 million a year on unregulated gambling websites in Ontario, resulting in lost revenue for the Province,” OLG said.

Finding a way to compete with offshore operators who have all the advantages hasn’t been easy, and it’s not going to get any easier. Ontario online casinos operate outside the umbrella of local law. Not only do they offer a larger variety of games and unequivocally better software, they can provide a full line-up of lucrative bonus promotions that the OLG can’t.

Lottery Systems Outdated

The OLG said advances in technology have cost the province dearly, and that updates to their systems are required to recapture revenue in that department.

“The lottery system is largely paper-based in an increasingly paper-free economy. Lottery terminals are becoming outdated and will soon need to be replaced,” said OLG.

Not only does the regulator want new terminals, it wants them located in a wider variety of retail locations. Existing technology limits where terminals can be installed, resulting in the majority of them being located in convenience stores. But OLG says new tech would allow them to install lottery systems in “super markets, big box stores and large retail locations”, all frequented by adults under 45.

Innovative Casino Games

Ontario online casinos aren’t the only problem. OLG says it’s land-based variety are suffering because today’s younger generation of gamblers aren’t so keen on playing slot machines, like their elders. Presently, 88% of their gaming revenue comes from slots play, but adults under 45 exhibit limited appeal for such games.

“Without new investment and innovation, demand for slot machine gaming in current locations is not expected to grow and will plateau in the coming years,” argued the OLG.

Less Americans – Less Revenue

Historically, Ontario has relied heavily on tourism from Americans to generate high yield from its southerly casino sector. Since the turn of the century, casinos located near the US border have seen revenue decline dramatically.

In 2001, these operations experienced overall gaming revenue of $800 million. That fell to just $100 million in 2011. OLG blames “competition from casinos in NY State, Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, North Michigan, and Chicago.”

Modernization Will Solve Everything

The OLG believes all of these problems can be solved by modernizing its technology and approach. It will take a lot more to stop players from accessing unregulated Ontario online casinos, but that’s a much bigger issue the province will have to deal with, one way or another.

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