Something stinks at OLG.
An audit conducted by the federal government revealed the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation operations involved multiple policy violations.
The audit also raised concerns about the value the agency provides to taxpayers. An internal federal division performed the review.
Findings allege OLG misused corporate credit cards, compensated out-of-line practices, and planned to privatize casinos.
Various OLG abuses
According to the 2015-2018 audit, certain OLG executives received 16-46% salary increases. That number is higher than the 3 – 10% raises at other government-run corporations.
The audit also found that OLG’s total executive compensation was $11.1M in 2019. More than the $7.2M, $6.1M, and $5.2M at Metrolinx, the LCBO, and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, respectively.
Additionally, the report stated the board racked up over $260,000 in credit card transactions. Interestingly, 29% of that spending funded furniture and travel, which contravenes OLG’s policy.
However, the audit did not make assumptions about the former CEO. And, according to OLG’s external communications director Tony Bitonti, the credit card expenses were work-related.
As Bitonti explained, the OLG board (in conjunction with the government) approved current salary ranges in 2018. They’ve remained frozen since.
“A third-party assessment has confirmed that these salary ranges fall within market rates for the wider public sector,” he said.
He also added that the agency is already working on recommendations from the audit.
“OLG welcomes independent reviews of its business that contribute to improved operations and improved accountability.”
No comprehensive business case for modernization plans
The audit showed the modernization process was too “complex and rigid,” said Paul Burns, Canadian Gaming Association’s president and CEO.
According to Burns, the process makes it difficult for private operators to bid on contracts and damages business interests. Especially those without a casino license. And that has led to less revenue for the province.
“Under new leadership, OLG is implementing a new strategic plan that will deliver on additional growth and continuous improvement,” Burns added.
Duncan Hannay, a former bank director, took over as CEO of OLG last October.