Niagara Falls has recently received its quarterly casino-hosting allocation from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and Mayor Jim Diodati has recently discussed its positive impact. Currently, the city hosts two premium casinos owned by OLG and the gaming establishments bring tremendous value to the coffers, as they fund many important local initiatives.
Every quarter the city is assigned a gambling revenue-sharing payment from OLG based on a percentage of the proceeds at Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. The two bring more than CA$20 million to the city’s coffers every year. But prior to the current revenue agreement, the casino had a fixed annual rate of CA$3 million.
Mayor’s Comments and More
Mayor Diodati said the city is lucky enough to receive the funding it does for hosting the two premium casinos. In his words, the allocations fulfil important initiatives, as they have helped build numerous parks and trails, and noted the city was in great shape. He also highlighted that gambling money has helped in the revamping of many tennis and basketball courts.
Finance Director Tiffany Clark shared that despite the annual reports and media coverage some residents are still in the dark about where the casino money is going. In Tuesday’s agenda, the city included a staff report detailing an annual summary of the OLG commitments, featuring details on every project funded with the money. There is also a dedicated webpage.
Meanwhile, the council approved five areas that casino funding should be channelled into. This includes property tax relief, future Niagara Falls hospital, debt avoidance/capital asset investments, economic development projects and policing around the casino area. In the summer, the city approved a CA$30M allocation to Niagara Health representing Niagara Falls’ local share to the new South Niagara hospital.
Since the new agreement in 2013, the city has received over CA$206.6 million in gambling revenue. It has spent CA$193.3 million on five areas, with CA$91.1 million going to capital asset and strategic investments, CA$58.2 million on property tax relief, CA$35.8 on casino unit policing, CA$4.5 million on economic development initiatives and CA$3.6 million on hospital and social services.
However, the mayor is worried about the increasing casino competition in the area, as it could affect the gambling revenue stream to Niagara Falls. In the summer Toronto launched Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto with a new 5,000-seat event centre. He is alarmed that the new venue will impact the revamped and expanded OLG Stage at Fallsview at Fallsview Casino Resort.
Casino Debuts New PlaySmart Centre
In the end of September Fallsview Casino Resort, OLG, and the Responsible Gambling Council launched a new PlaySmart Centre at the gaming resort. Located in the Galleria by Ponte Vecchio, it’s projected to attract even more visitors to familiarize themselves with the available interactive and responsible play tools and insights on healthy playing habits.
Source: Spiteri, Ray “Casino-hosting funding helps put Niagara Falls in ‘great shape’: Diodati” Niagara Falls Review, October 24, 2023