Pickering to share casino revenue with Durham Region to benefit social housing projects

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Published February 3, 2023 at 5:24 pm

The City of Pickering will share casino revenue with the Region of Durham in a landmark deal that will see an estimated $3 million per year dedicated to regional social housing projects.

In what is believed to be the first such arrangement between upper and lower tier governments, Pickering will give Durham 50 per cent of all casino hosting revenue awarded by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation for casino hosting rights after the first $10 million to a maximum of $6 million per year.

With the City earning about $16 million per year from OLG, the Region is expected to be given $3 million of that money.

“It’s important to put your money where your mouth is,” said Pickering Regional Councillor Maurice Brenner. “We’ve got an opportunity to benefit the social housing sector and the growing need for affordable housing in Durham Region.”

Pickering Councillor Maurice Brenner

The two sides tentatively signed on to the arrangement in principle in 2018 before the Pickering Casino Resort was built and Pickering agreed to start paying out once the casino was fully built out.

The casino opened July 26, 2021 and with the opening of the 275-room hotel a month ago it was considered ‘built out’ enough to start the clock on the arrangement, which will retroactively begin January 1, 2023.

The deal goes before Pickering’s Executive Committee Monday and still has to be approved at a subsequent City Council meeting.

Pickering Casino Resort is the largest casino in Durham and one of the biggest in Ontario with 2,200 slot machines, 90 live gaming tables and 52 ‘studio’ gaming tables, several restaurants and a theatre/arena (that was just baptized with a major boxing card) that will eventually hold 2.500 patrons.

At the end of the four-year deal (it can be extended at the behest of both parties) Pickering is expected to receive $52 million in casino hosting revenue while Durham Region will get $12 million. Pickering’s share will be “substantially” dedicated to capital projects with the rest earmarked for community grants.

“As far as I know we’re the only lower-tier municipality to do this,” Brenner said. “It’s a great way to give back to the people who need it most.”

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