The View - 206

Charitable Gaming - THE VIEW

1518 – Joint Charitable Gaming Conference (Ontario)

1519 – Joint Advocacy Day – Queen’s Park (Toronto)

1520 – Bingo in Quebec

1521 – People on Move

1522 – Gaming in Australia

1523 – PlaySmart (RG-C/OLG/CGAO)

1518 – Joint Charitable Gaming Conference (Ontario)

On the 18th & 19th November, in Mississauga, the CGAO & OCGA hosted their annual Charitable/Community Gaming Conference. Over the past few years this conference, with a clear focus on the sector, has got stronger and stronger with a record attendance this year.

It clearly shows the commitment and interest in Charitable Gaming and how, through our unique platform of collaboration, we continue with increased competitive forces to make the sector relevant and vibrant in this province. It is often forgotten that our platform was built through the sector and we sought government support to allow the introduction of technology into our Centres. It was based on and through ‘Public Policy’ and delivers real and immediate rewards to our 1.900 Charitable Groups and 28,000 direct volunteers. There is no other platform providing this model.

It was tremendous to have as our key-note speaker Mr. Jean Major, CEO of AGCO, one of the few individuals in the province who has a broad knowledge of how the gaming sector has evolved and has long advocated for an integrated Provincial Gaming Strategy. Never in my view has this been more needed. Addressing the conference for the first time, it was extremely encouraging to welcome Ms. Lori Sullivan, COO of OLG, as an important partner in the cGaming development. It was encouraging that she was able to join and be introduced to a broader selection of the Industry, both Commercial Operators, Vendors & Charitable Representatives. Even though she has been newly appointed to her new role as the Social/Responsible Gaming lead at the OLG, Ms. Liz Yeigh gave a broad overview on the Play-Smart program, its current status and identifying future opportunities to enhance the program going with the engagement of the sector, which was well received. The session on Customers Experience, undertaken by Mr. Peter Law, EY, was designed to stretch delegates thinking and engage them in thinking beyond where we are and focus where we need to get to in delivering a unique and rewarding customer experience for Charitable Gaming. We all collectively need to become much more customer centric in order to deliver the benefits to all the partners and I believe Peter achieved that objective in his session. One of the highlights that were extremely well received was hearing directly from our Charities and their experiences on what happens once the money is raised for the communities. Both Ms. Lynn Cassidy and Mr. Richard Schwar really achieved awareness, combined with real impact.  We must not, as a collective, forget that our program (driven by the CGAO & OCGA) has now raised $C250m and is still growing. This is bringing and delivering real value to the communities and the province. 

Finally, we, the CGAO, wanted to thank all the delegates who signed up for the conference. Without your support, this conference wouldn’t have achieved the success that it did. Combined with the tremendous work of our Conference Team, Mr. Richard Schwar and Ms. Pat Petrolo they both place a lot of hard work behind the scenes and wanted to publicly acknowledge that contribution.

1519 – Joint Advocacy Day – Queen’s Park (Toronto)

On Monday, 25th November 2019, at Queen’s Park Government Building in Toronto, the CGAO Chair – Mr. Tony Rosa and OCGA President – Mr. Bill Wilson played host to Ministers, MPP’s and staff, highlighting the success of our sector Initiative and acknowledging the tremendous milestone of $C250m raised for over 1,900 Charitable Groups, supported by 28,000 volunteers. 

A cheque was presented to the Minister of Attorney General, The Hon. Doug Downey, as well as the Minister of Finance, Hon, Rod Philips who dropped by to support the event, which was excellent. We also have the Official Opposition [NPD] critic, Mr. Percy Hadfield, who spoke at the event after the Minister. Again, very supportive of the program.

It was very encouraging to see the turn out with representatives from AGCO, OLG, RG, Charities and Commercial Operators/Vendors. This was a great event, profiled the sector extremely well and highlighted the true benefit we deliver.  

1520 – Bingo in Quebec

During the year, Lotto-Quebec Charitable Gaming Team has been piloting their eBingo initiative in the province. This involved five (5) Centres undertaking a new platform to deliver the bingo playing experience.

As a pilot, it is designed to get a reaction from consumers and push their boundaries on the playing experience and with the core objective of gaining that knowledge, through this pilot that has been achieved. 

The Charitable Gaming Division in Lotto-Quebec has gone through a change and it is now operationally led by Ms. Isabelle Galand and her team. They, as a group, decided that enough information had been obtained through the pilot and therefore disengaged two months early. There is no point in continuing a pilot if no further lessons can be gained. The Charitable Gaming Team at Lotto-Quebec is looking at the key lessons learnt and reviewing further options for the sector for 2020 and beyond.

We, CGAO, had an opportunity to meet directly with Isabelle and her team in November and our impression was that they are extremely positive about the future and seeking out ways and platforms to support the Charitable Gaming Centres in the province.

1521 – People on Move

There have been numerous People-on-Move recently and here is an overview.

Mr. Rick Gray, VP cGaming (OLG)           - It was announced in late November that Rick will be retiring from the OLG at the end of January 2020 after 32 years of service. For the last five (5) years he has led the OLG cGaming Team and through this period led a transition internally of the program and re-positioned it for the future. He is a strong supporter of Charities and an internal advocate of the partnership with the Charitable Gaming sector.

We all, at the CGAO, want to wish Rick and Gray Family every success and happiness as they begin this new chapter in their lives. Well Done Rick Gray! 

Ms. Tracy Parker                                     - After five (5) years within the OLG – PlaySmart Team, Tracy has decided to undertake a new position with the Responsible Gaming Council (RG-C) based in Toronto. I am sure you will join me in wishing Tracy all the best in her new position & role at a very exciting time of the PlaySmart Platform development. 

Mr. Kevin Harriman                                 - It has been announced by the Delta Gaming Group that Mr. Kevin Harriman will join the Group as ‘Compliance & Security Manager’ with a dual reporting role to the COO and CFO. Mr. Harriman has previously worked at the OLG in a compliance function. We wish him every success as he undertakes his new role.

Ms. Sheona Hurd                                    - On the 1st November 2019, Sheona had resigned from the OLG after 14yrs of service in the RG (PlaySmart) department. Sheona was one of the key contributors in the development of forging the new PlaySmart platform, which has been highly successful. We all wish Sheona well in her future career opportunities.

Ms. Catherine Meade                            - Has been appointed as a Director in the Social Responsibility within the Policy, Research and Strategy department. Catherine will report directly to Ms. Liz Yeigh.

Ms. Megan Nicholson                             - Has been appointed as a Director in the Social Responsibility department of OLG and will report directly to Ms. Liz Yeigh.

1522 – Gaming in Australia

In the last week of November, we had the opportunity to be down in Australia for a week and took the time to meet with NSW Racing & Gaming Commission and Victoria Liquor & Gaming Commission where we have established some contacts, which is extremely insightful.

There are a few things of interest:

Responsible Gaming                              - Australia is looking to introduce a National Self Exclusion program across all States in the country. Initially this will be based on Internal Gaming but may expand further down the road. Australia, similar to Canada, is a Commonwealth of States and therefore this approach of National Self Exclusion Program is a major step forward.

Advertising                                            - There has been a move to control the volume and timing of Gaming Advertising on television and radio. This has now been set for certain times of the day in an effort to stop minors being exposed to material and messages. It must be noted that Australia has one of the highest spend per population in the world.

Point-of-Consumption-Tax                       - This came into effect in January 2019. It is unclear how it has impacted the sector. If this is totally absolved by the Operating Companies, it will be interesting the affect it will have, whether it will speed up consolidation of the sector or grow market share for the Operators. 

Better Regulation (NSW)                         - A re-organization of government services is underway in the State that will bring numerous resources together under-one-roof. The Better Regulation initiative is, I am told, to leverage in-house talent across numerous government platforms to better deliver services and respond to issues. This will see the Racing & Gaming Commission fold into one of these areas in 2020 and move from downtown Sydney to the western suburbs.

1523 – PlaySmart (RG-C/OLG/CGAO)

On Friday, 13th December, we held our joint quarterly meeting between the three organizations, discussing the developments, opportunities and challenges we face on the PlaySmart front. We all acknowledged the progress we have made as a collective and the continued heightened awareness within our sector.

With new representatives from both the OLG and RG-C at the table, it is an excellent opportunity to review and assess as we more forward, based on the current operational environment that has evolved during the course of the year.

I must say, what is pleasing is the commitment of both Ms. Shelly White (RG-C) and Ms. Liz Yeigh (OLG) in continuing the collaborative approach, committing their Teams in working constructively with the sector in building on the progress that has occurred to date.  

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