Below is a message from the Chair [Mr. Michael Orser] of the Commercial Gaming Association of Ontario.
Dear Members & Readers
It is that time of year where I begin to write my message to the Members & Readers of the View. The year has flown by so fast, or seems to have, and I am here again writing to you. For those of you who know me directly, this is not a natural form of communication for me. I generally feed off direct discussions with individuals or small groups.
Without question, 2015 has been a crossroads year in many ways. With over thirty one (31) Centres now converted, it has tipped the Bingo Sector into a 50/50 of both 207:1:a and 207:1:b Centres operating in the province. With the completion of Jackpot City, Sarnia, the conversion program completed phase one and is now on pause while we readjust and realign the process and supporting structures. In the course of the year, the GTA added two (2) Centres to the program. Their performance has been tremendous and enhanced the overall gross trading of the program.
In January 2015 we [OLG, OCGA & CGAO] introduced a new committee structure that looked at four (4) key disciplines of the business - Strategy, Marketing (Product), Operations and Regulations, to four committees. Each committee is made up of OLG Representatives and Industry Representatives, together working to form a greater understanding of the program needs and efficiency of the delivery of the initiatives. It is still finding its legs but without questions there has been some progress.
The biggest impact on product was the Tap-Tix Dispenser Units introducing a multi price feature and an in-house progressive element. Both of these additions have seen a tremendous positive impact on their performance and we see that area of the product portfolio advance in a measured fashion, bearing in mind our largest Centre only has a maximum of 49 Dispenser Units in play.
We cannot question the hard work and dedication that has been given by numerous individuals, whether at the OLG (c-Gaming Team), AGCO, Municipalities, Gaming Centre Staff and our Charity Partners, with everyone working together to a common cause to enhance the program and keep moving forward. We often forget that we are focusing on the Revitalization of Charitable (Bingo) Gaming, which has long been under pressure from other forms of gaming in the province. Often forgotten is that Bingo was around long before the Lottery, Casinos, Racinos and even the internet gaming. Yes, we can taste change but we have been held back for many years within the framework of federal regulation. This is changing and opportunities are before us. We need to be progressive and harness this change within the scope of an integrated provincial gaming strategy to ensure effective ‘balance’.
The CGAO has also embraced social responsibility. We directed our staff to be fully engaged in this area and we know the CGAO meets on a quarterly basis with representatives from the Responsible Gaming Council and Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation to forge greater understanding of the evolving environment affecting RG issues. We saw the completion of RG Kiosks in all 31 Centres in 2015 and 12,500 touch points on RG in the first half of the year. This is a clear example that the Centres, and directly their staff, have embraced RG as part of the culture.
Without question the most remarkable achievement of the year was reaching the 10th Anniversary of c-Gaming and raising over $C100m for Charitable Groups within that 10 year period. This is a prime example of the real benefit this platform brings to the host communities and various not-forprofit groups that are connected directly to our Centres.
I also wish to acknowledge my fellow Board Members who have continued to work hard with our staff in driving forward our strategy. Their contribution, which is all voluntary, offers real value to the Association and I feel it is important to acknowledge them publicly for their engagement.
Finally, it is important to acknowledge the contribution of the name many of your see on a day-to-day basis, always in the background but ensuring the smooth running of the Association Machine, our own Administrator – Ms. Sandi Nesbitt who has a natural way of maintaining an air of calm, even when sailing in choppy waters. Thank you for all your hard work! In closing, I want to wish you and your families a Very Happy Christmas and a Very Successful 2016.
Have a great Holiday!
Michael E. Orser
Chair of the Board