Why The Special Mention For OLG And The Casino?


It’s hard to understand the close relationship between Mayor Jim Watson, the City of Ottawa and the Rideau Carleton Raceway.

First Watson sole-sources an OLG expansion at RCR. Then somehow extra tables are allowed at the racetrack casino without council knowing.

Now RCR and the OLG get a special shout-out about money given to municipal efforts to the tune of $5 million.

But then OLG sent $146 million to all communities and First Nations across the province during its last fiscal year. What Ottawa receives is not unusual and it has been happening for some time. The community gets the money because it hosts a casino.

So why the special mentions?

Here is the release from the City of Ottawa:

The City of Ottawa has expressed appreciation to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) for its support of community projects in Ottawa – including enhancing accessibility to the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) branch in Manotick and other facilities across the city.  Each year, the City receives $5 million in OLG funds generated by the Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino, which is placed in the City’s general revenues account and reinvested towards improvements to City facilities and infrastructure.

The exterior work at the Manotick OPL branch – which hosted the recognition event – will involve removing barriers along the connecting pathway between the library entrance and the parking lot and South River Drive this spring.  These accessibility enhancements will create equal access to this community hub, which provides resources and activities for all ages – including a 50-plus short story contest, Teen Tech Video Contest, older adult reading circles about aging, and much more.

In addition to the Manotick and other OPL branches, a portion of the funds received between March 2016 and March 2017 helped to fund accessibility improvement projects at other City facilities, including:

  • Goulbourn Recreation Complex
  • Walter Baker Sports Centre
  • Glebe Community Centre
  • Meadowvale Field House
  • Manor Park Community Building

Funds received during the same period were also applied to recreation infrastructure projects, including splash pads and playgrounds in various City parks.

To date, Ottawa has received more than $72 million in non-tax gaming revenue for hosting OLG slots and the Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino.


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7 thoughts on “Why The Special Mention For OLG And The Casino?

  1. And, once the the Hard Rock complex is fully operational $12.8 million in annual revenue will be generated for the city. I’m not sure if this is in addition to the $5 million mentioned above or if the $5 million is included. Still, it’s nice to see private industry contributing to the community.


  2. Oh, one more thing, the literature I received also indicates that the $318 million investment in the Hard Rock complex will be funded entirely by the Hard Rock and Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino.


  3. It is never wise to bite the hand that feeds you. While $5 million isn’t a big amount in the context of a $3 billion operating budget, it still pays a few salaries at city hall. After so many councillors spoke out about the evils of gambling, albeit most likely in an effort to pander to a special interest group or two, I suspect that OLG “reminded” the city that the $5 million did have a few positive public relations strings attached to it.


      1. Ken:

        Could it be that it’s his project and he’s counting on it to be one of his legacy projects?

        He’s got to start somewhere…


  4. Jim Watson is not popular in Osgoode ward, especially after he tried to open a new downtown casino 4 or 5 years ago. Since 2015 he has spent a great deal of time traipsing around with George Darouze, probably to show people he’s just a regular guy. So the answer to the why question with regards to RCR is simple – to get votes in October 2018.


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