The View - 228

Charitable Gaming - THE VIEW

1647 – People on the Move

1648 – Sector Re-Opening

1649 – General Members Meeting

1650 – iGaming and Single Sports Wagering

1651 – Health and Wellness

1652 – Community Entertainment Venues

1647 – People on the Move

As the 2021 year closed out there were some major changes in the Canadian Gaming landscape.

  • Mr. Ilkim Hincer - Has been elected Chair of Board for the Canadian Gaming Association. He is Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, Hard Rock, International and brings a depth of knowledge to this important role.
  • Mr. George Sweny - Has been elected Vice Chair of Board for the Canadian Gaming Association. He is Vice President, Flutter Entertainment, PLC and is well known and has a broad knowledge of the Canadian Gaming landscape.
  • Ms. Carrie Kormos - Has stepped down from her role as Chair of the Canadian Gaming Association after a very successful term of office and leaves the Association to further strengthen to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.   

The Canadian Gaming Association has been undertaking a strategic transformation over the last few years, which has seen the focus and direction on strengthening the enhanced value an industry body can bring to the overall development of the sector.

  • Mr. Jim Lightbody - It was announced at the close of the year that Mr. Jim Lightbody will be stepping down as President & CEO of BCLC. As you will be aware, Jim has been on medical leave since 6th of September 2019. Everybody wishes Jim well as he continues to focus on his medical recovery.

CGAO wishes all the above continued success within the coming year.

1648 – Sector Re-Opening

On the 31st of January the Charitable Gaming Sector was eligible to re-open within the guidelines set out that included capacity limits. This, after a rather stressful period, was indeed welcome news. There has been growing concern within the sector on the impacts to consumer behaviour and how they respond in re-entering a public environment. We are seeing evidence from the UK indicating there is hesitancy by the consumer, certainly those +50yrs, due to Covid-19. This is an indication that it will take time to re-build the business levels back to February 2020. It is, we believe, important that all stakeholders acknowledge this as a fact in order that we can collectively focus our energy and combine resources in providing a pathway of re-construction of this important sector.

It must be pointed out that the resilience our Commercial Operator Members have shown in navigating through an unprecedented trading period and their ability to be agile and flexible in swiftly adapting to the changing conditions has been tremendous. 

However, we at the CGAO recognize that this is never achieved through a single effort. It has been the ongoing support of our strategic partners and fellow stakeholders, OCGA, AGCO, OLG (cGaming Team) and Municipalities. Collectively, we have managed to deliver (when trading) an estimated $C1m per week for 2,200 Community Based Non-Profit (Charity Groups) in this province.

We must now turn our attention on the consumer and seek paths of connectivity to restore their confidence within our venues in order to re-build this valuable platform for the various communities we are located in. Without question, it continues to deliver meaningful and direct funds to our community-based Charity Partners. 

1649 – General Members Meeting

This is a reminder to all CGAO Members that we will host our first quarterly General Meeting of 2022 on the 15th of February via Video Conferencing. This meeting is scheduled to start at 10:00am prompt. All Members should have received a calendar invite with the instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

If Members require any further details, please contact the office direct.

1650 – iGaming and Single Sports Wagering

It has been announced by the Provincial Government that the iGaming platform will open on the 4th April 2022. This is a major initiative that offers tremendous opportunity but not without an element of risk.

Having an iGaming Platform is a great leveler. It breaks down barriers very quickly, offering tremendous depth of content and reach. As Ontario formally enters this sector, it can do so with the historical lesson learnt from the European and Australian markets, which are well advanced in this area.

We continue to see society generally advance more to a ‘digital engagement’ and retail/leisure sectors are one of the leading sectors in this transition. We do need to make certain that there is a balanced regulatory structure between Retail & Digital in order that we can ensure we deliver an engaging and compelling consumer experience. One of the sectors immediate challenges is demographic profile and age segmentation, which (within Charitable Gaming) leans +50yrs. They require a more educated guide through transition versus the younger age segment that is more aligned and comfortable with digital platforms.

Within days of the announced launch, it was reported that iGaming Ontario has already begun to issue iGaming Registrations to companies that had applied. This shows the team at iGaming (Ontario), under the leadership of Ms. Martha Otton, is being responsive to ensure the 4th April will see the model open.  

We continue to monitor and provide our members all the information around the developments of the province iGaming Platform through IGO (AGCO). If you have not signed up directly you can do this through the www.agco.ca and follow the links.

1651 – Health and Wellness

As we re-open the venues, it is a reminder (with all the pre-opening planning that is required) we renew, re-focus and remind our Team Members of the important role Play-Smart plays within the structure of daily operational functions.

We are encouraged, our Team Members are keeping a watchful eye on Red Flag Behaviours and are aware, when action is required, to activate their training and engage. Thus, our Team Members will then be engaging in a positive fashion when the time is right and through a professional lens.

As we re-open we are being extra watchful on and for unwanted play in our venues. We recognize the importance of flagging this where and when it is identified. It is another example of our Chair’s [Mr. Tony Rosa] strategy of incremental progress on the PlaySmart program.

1652 – Community Entertainment Venues

Our Chair, Mr. Tony Rosa,continues to push and encourage Charitable Gaming to remain relevant and focused on the future and ensuring we are always seeking to transition into remaining a valued community activity.

Thus, with the changing landscape within the broader leisure sector and noting the changing consumer’s behaviours, we need to ensure we focus on two core themes to drive our development Connectivity and Delivery. Therefore, we are charged with fully understanding our points of connection with and to the consumers and then preparing the best delivery method of our service and experience to them that is both compelling and exciting.

We are at the point in our development cycle where we need to re-think and re-position accordingly. Thus, as Community Entertainment Venues we sense this will best position and will differentiate our venues from others in this province.

We are also at the point where we will stop, to narrowly focus, on traditional bingo sessions that are old school and old thinking. Bingo, as a product, retains its value within our product portfolio but it needs to be re-positioned. Our combined focus should be turned to social engagement, games of chance (bingo), ancillary games (intermissions), entertainment and reformatting hospitality, all driving to more compelling consumer experience.

Thus, hosting multiple consumer experiences simultaneously under one roof.

We continue to see the development & re-investment by the Commercial Operators in their venues with prime examples being Jackpot City Gaming, Play-Entertainment, Dolphin Gaming and Delta Gaming Centre (Toronto). In each of them we see different levels of innovation. All have one thing on common, a clear focus on the consumer experience.

More details will be emerging on this important internal initiative as the year develops.

On-Line @ cgao.ca

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Commercial Gaming Association Ontario

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