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America First in Canadian Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara Bid

Zoltan Tundik

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Under, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s new plans, Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara’s leases are up for grabs. Both casinos will be bundled together for a 20-year lease deal. Originally five companies expressed their interest in taking over the lease. Out of the five bidding companies, only two were Canadian. These two companies, are the Great Canadian Gaming Corp and Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd.  Heading up the American charge is Hard Rock Café International Inc., Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Mohegan Sun Inc. However, despite strong bids it was reported by Globe and Mail that only the US companies remain in the running. Meaning that for at least the next 20 years Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara will be under US management.

What does this mean for the city of Niagara?

Currently, both casinos are owned by the government of Ontario. Through the government, they are both run by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. This means that the government have a say in the day to day running of the casino. It also means that they are responsible for the future planning and costs associated. In the past, this has been a very profitable relationship. Not only for the government, but also for the city.

Since December 1996, the OLG netted revenue of $124.7 million for the city of Niagara. Revenues which of course were raised from payments. These payments are made to “thank” the city of Niagara for being the host city. Currently, payments to the city from the OLG are made quarterly. In June 2018, the city of Niagara received $7,393,429 in hosting payments. In addition to these payments, the casinos are also the largest employer in the city. This provides further revenue to the city. Although, no new lease-holder deal is finalised it is likely that the ‘host’ payments will continue.

However, just as the two casinos bring money, they also cost money. This is because as government operations, the government is liable for costs. As you can imagine, the running and upkeep of a casino is not cheap. This means dipping into tax payer money. Speaking about this in an interview OLG President Stephen Rigby said the lease sale ““Will make future capital costs of developing, expanding, improving and maintaining the Niagara casinos the responsibility of a service provider — so public money is no longer used to cover these costs.”

What does the future hold for Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara?

Despite, being the prize at the end of a bidding war the future of both casinos is assured. One thing that is for sure is that they will no longer be Canadian run. That privilege will now pass to one of the three remaining US bidders. According to sources the OLG will base their final decision on the bidders’ experience in gaming development. Of which, all of the three remaining contenders have plenty. Especially, when it comes to online gaming operations. Online gaming in Canada is a strong and fast growing industry. Figures on Canadian casino review website Casinos.co suggest that over 70% of Canadians have gambled online in the last year. It is highly likely that all three companies will be looking to negotiate on online gaming.

Another area of the casinos, all bidders will be looking to expand and build upon is loyalty schemes. Something, which Hard Rock and Caesars Entertainment Corp can easily incorporate into their existing schemes. This has raised some concerns with the OLG, who fear that both casinos will lose their high-rollers to Las Vegas. Something, which would have a seriously negative effect on Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara.

Unfortunately, as no deal has been reached there is no concrete plan for either casino. Nobody, besides the OLG knows for sure what terms and conditions will be attached. For Fallsview Casino, and Casino Niagara any future without Canadian ownership will be bittersweet.

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Canada

Calgary set to welcome eSports events

Niji Ng

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Calgary set to welcome eSports events
Photo Source: dailyhive.com
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The Calgary eSports League is teaming up with Telus Spark to bring competitive video-game events to Calgary. If successful, the industry can produce revenues of more than $1-billion next year.

Unlike cities including Toronto and Vancouver, Calgary has yet to establish a firm eSports community beyond a few Facebook groups and clubs.

Wes Nelson, spokesman for the Calgary eSports League, said he sees a market for the sport in Calgary.

“Almost all of the elements are in place for a healthy eSports community in Calgary, they just need to be brought together and given a boost in order to thrive,” Nelson added.

eSports offers a platform for the players to interact with the fans. On YouTube, where games are often streamed, five of the top 10 most popular and top-earning YouTubers make their money from video games.

There is a chance that eSports viewership to surpass the National Football League in total viewership by 2022, the Calgary league said.

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Deloitte’s 2019 TMT Predictions forecast the rise of the smart speaker in Canada

George Miller

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Deloitte's 2019 TMT Predictions forecast the rise of the smart speaker in Canada
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Deloitte predicts the smart speaker will become the fastest-growing connected device category worldwide with a distinctly Canadian usage: checking the weather

  • Smart speakers to become the fastest-growing internet connected device worldwide
  • Canadian talent and innovation to drive country’s growth in cloud-based AI
  • Popularity of sports betting leads to increased TV viewership among Canadian men, especially when money’s on the table

 

In the 18th edition of its Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions, Deloitte forecasts the rise of the smart speaker—internet-connected speaker with integrated digital assistants—in Canada. While smart speaker adoption in the country is currently at nine per cent, Deloitte anticipates further adoption when language barriers are overcome and Canadians truly understand the devices’ capabilities. Smart speaker adoption in Quebec is almost half that of the rest of the country, and of six countries surveyed, most people used the technology to play music—except in Canada, where people use smart speakers to check the weather.

“Globally, smart speakers are poised for impressive growth,” said Duncan Stewart, director of research for TMT at Deloitte Canada. “In Canada, we’re also predicting growth, but barriers to adoption remain. Language acceptance is still a challenge in Quebec, with usage lagging behind the rest of the country. Additionally – and while it likely comes as no surprise – Canadians tend to use smart speakers to check the weather, but the power of these devices extends far beyond that.”

Deloitte predicts the industry for smart speakers will be worth US$7 billion in 2019. At a 63 per cent growth rate over 2018, smart speakers are poised to become the fastest-growing connected device category worldwide.

AI in Canada: Keeping up with the competitors

Deloitte predicts that companies will accelerate their usage of cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) software and services in 2019. Although Canada doesn’t have the size and scale to realistically compete head-to-head with the global tech cloud giants, it will likely supply technology to those who’ll be providing AI through the cloud. Canada will also see a democratization of AI capabilities and benefits that had previously been the sole preserve of early adopters.

As a strong global leader in AI, Canadian innovation and talent can drive the growth of AI through the cloud, most likely at the applications level, with a focus on enterprise software. Of the global companies already using AI, 58 per cent are using cloud enterprise software plus AI, which is predicted to rise to 87 per cent by 2020.

“Signs point to AI becoming one of the leading economic drivers of our time,” said Anders McKenzie, managing partner for TMT at Deloitte Canada. “Canada is a leader in both research and talent, which positions us well to drive innovation and growth for cloud-based AI by equipping providers with the technology to meet demand.”

In Canada, TV sports broadcasting is a safe bet

Globally, sports gambling is a US$200 billion industry. In Canada and the United States, TV sports watching and gambling is increasingly popular among 18-34-year-old-men, although Canadians tune in slightly less than their American counterparts. In the US, 73 per cent of Americans who bet on sports at least weekly are much more likely to watch the event on TV, compared to 59 per cent of

Canadians. Deloitte predicts that of the demographic who watch TV sports, 60 per cent will also bet on it—and the more often they bet, the more they’ll watch.

Deloitte’s annual TMT Predictions provide an outlook on key trends in the technology, media, and telecommunications industry sectors worldwide. They’re based on global research, including in-depth interviews with clients, industry analysts, global industry leaders, and Deloitte member-firm TMT practitioners. Last year, Deloitte was 90 per cent accurate with its TMT predictions.

The most significant TMT predictions in 2019 are:

  • Hold onto your handsets: 5G heralds a much faster world – 2019 will be the year in which fifth-generation (5G) wide-area wireless networks arrive in scale, offering higher speeds than its 4G predecessor. That’s likely good news for some of the 24 per cent of Canadians who have a wireless-only connection for their home data needs when 5G launches in Canada in 2020 or 2021.
  • Cloud cover spreading AI capabilities to all – In 2019, companies will accelerate their usage of cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) software and services, with 70 per cent of AI adopters obtaining their AI capabilities through cloud-based enterprise software. Of the global companies already using AI, 58 per cent are using cloud enterprise software plus AI, which is predicted to rise to 87 per cent by 2020.
  • Siri/Alexa/Google, what’s the weather like today, eh? – The industry for smart speakers—internet-connected speakers with integrated digital assistants—will be worth US$7 billion in 2019, becoming the fastest-growing connected device category worldwide.
  • Does TV sports have a future in Canada? Bet on it – In 2019, 60 per cent of Canadian and American men aged 18-34 who watch sports on TV will also bet on sports, and the more often they bet, the more often they’ll watch.
  • On your marks, get set, game! – The North American market for esports will expand by 35 per cent in 2019, with the global market to reach US$1 billion by the end of 2019.
  • Radio: Revenue, reach, and resilience – Deloitte predicts global radio revenue to reach US$40 billion in 2019, with over 85 per cent of the developed world’s adult population tuning in weekly.
  • 3D printing picks up steam again – Sales related to 3D printing by large public companies will grow at about 12.5 per cent in each 2019 and 2020, more than double its five per cent growth rate from just a few years ago.
  • Sino the times: Connectivity-driven innovation from ChinaChina will have world-leading telecommunications networks in 2019, laying the groundwork to provide for the gestation and maturation of at least three significant new industries, each of which could generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue annually by 2023.
  • AI will run on Chinese semiconductors – Revenues for semiconductors manufactured in China will grow by 25 per cent to US$110 billion in 2019, up from US$85 billion in 2018. Deloitte also predicts that in 2019 a Chinese chip foundry will begin producing semiconductors that are specialized for AI and machine-learning tasks.
  • Quantum computers are coming–lock up your data – Quantum computers (QCs) will not replace classical computers for decades, but Deloitte predicts the QC market of the future will be about the size of today’s supercomputer market – around US$50 billion.

Deloitte’s Canadian TMT Predictions road show kicks off on January 10 in Toronto, followed by stops in Montreal, Quebec City, Kitchener-Waterloo, Vancouver, Ottawa, and other Canadian cities.

 

About Deloitte:
Deloitte provides audit & assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights and service to address clients’ most complex business challenges.

Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

 

Source: Deloitte & Touche

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Casino employees in Canada on the verge of a strike

Niji Ng

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Casino employees in Canada on the verge of a strike
Photo Source: hardrockhotels.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

The employees of two casinos in British Columbia, Grand Villa Casino and the Starlight Casino, have decided to go ahead with proposed strike. This could trigger fresh labour unrest in the sector almost three months after the workers of Hard Rock Casino went back to work.

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) announced the decision on Twitter after the Grand Villa workers voted 88.6 per cent in favour of a strike, while the Starlight vote had a 78 per cent approval. “Bargaining committees are meeting to plan next steps,” the Union said in a tweet.

Stephanie Smith, the president of BCGEU, said the Hard Rock Casino contract “set a new standard in terms of wages and benefits,” which is why other venues’ workers chose to strike.

According to the new contract, the salaries were increased by 5–31 per cent, based on the pay scale. There will be other benefits like a pension plan. “I think that speaks to the uncertainty,” she said about the contract. “We are going to have to continue to work really hard to protect our members’ interests.”

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