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Wynne to press OLG for municipal equality on casino deals

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

DEBORAH BAIC/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will meet with the provincial lottery corporation's top executives on Wednesday to underscore for them face-to-face that the same funding formula for casinos must be used everywhere.

Ms. Wynne is adamant that her government will not approve special terms for Toronto if city councillors approve a casino resort.

"I've been very clear that there would not be special deals for any of the municipalities," Ms. Wynne told reporters on Tuesday. "There's a formula that's in place, and I want to be sure that that formula is used across the province."

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At what will be her first meeting with OLG chairman Paul Godfrey and chief executive officer Rod Phillips since becoming Premier, Ms. Wynne will stress that no means no when it comes to offering a major cash injection to Toronto.

Mr. Godfrey has said that Toronto would receive hosting fees of $50-million to $100-million a year – a windfall compared with what's in store for other cities under the standard funding formula.

The former Toronto politician has announced his preference for an "iconic" casino resort on the city's waterfront. He and Mr. Phillips are hoping the hosting fees will win the support of Toronto councillors.

Mr. Phillips was not available to comment on Tuesday. An OLG spokesman said in an e-mail that the agency's "position has not changed" on the hosting fees for Toronto.

This has left industry insiders and opposition politicians perplexed. Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton asked Ms. Wynne why OLG had not revised its estimate.

The standard formula for calculating hosting fees is based on a sliding scale of net slot revenues. A casino in Toronto would receive $20-million in fees, assuming it generates annual revenues of $1.4-billion.

Mr. McNaughton said a casino would need to generate $7.5-billion in revenues to receive $50-million in annual fees.

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"This is more gaming revenue than the entire Las Vegas strip generated in 2012 alone and would require over 30,000 slot machines to realize," Mr. McNaughton said.

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About the Author

Karen Howlett is a national reporter based in Toronto. She returned to the newsroom in 2013 after covering Ontario politics at The Globe’s Queen’s Park bureau for seven years. Prior to that, she worked in the paper’s Vancouver bureau and in The Report on Business, where she covered a variety of beats, including financial services and securities regulation. More

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