Ontario Casino Nets Scugog Island First Nation Nearly $1M In 3 Months

Written By Jose Colorado on August 15, 2022
Scugog Island First Nation receives nearly $1 million from casino revenue agreement in three months. The Let it stand Totem Pole - closeup of the Eagle carving at the East Gate, Algonquin Park, Ontario

The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation just became nearly $1 million richer.

That’s thanks to the Municipality Contribution Agreements, which see Ontario Lottery and Gaming send payments to local communities hosting its casinos in Ontario.

For its part, MSIFN just received $978,403 for hosting the Great Blue Heron Casino – situated in Port Perry. The payment is for the first quarter of the 2022 – 2023 fiscal year (April 1 – June 30).

Partnerships such as these, said OLG’s Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy via a statement, have proven vital.

“OLG’s land-based casinos are once again providing an important stream of revenue to gaming host communities through Municipality Contribution Agreements.

“Municipalities rely on this funding to maintain essential programs and services, and to help improve the lives of people across Ontario.”

Scugog First Nation received over $28M since 2000

OLG says the Municipality Contribution Agreement uses a universal formula across Ontario to calculate payment amounts. The calculation uses a gaming revenue scale for each hosted site.

Whatever the method, MSIFN has benefitted. The First Nation originally opened GBH’s gaming doors in May 2000. Since then, the OLG Agreement contributed $28,014,947 to the Scugog First Nation’s coffers.

OLG: Over $1B contributed to host communities since 1994

Of course, MSIFN is not the only community to benefit from the payout. The nearby Town of Ajax also received $1,705,003 for hosting Casino Ajax.

In total, the Town of Ajax has received more than $99 million since February 2006.

OLG said 28 communities across the province benefitted from the first quarterly payments to a grand total of $43,420,036. On a broader scale, OLG paid more than $1.86 billion to host communities since 1994 in non-tax gaming revenue.

Much of that goes to aid in economic recovery, infrastructure development and job creation within host communities.

OLG, First Nation relationship: it’s complicated

Despite the added cash flow, MSIFN’s and OLG’s relationship remains at odds.

Consider the pair will head to meditation over a longstanding dispute surrounding the opening of the Pickering Casino Resort. The business is located roughly 50km away from the GBH and opened on July 16, 2021.

The Nation claims the act violates a previous agreement limiting the number of gaming properties in Durham. Much of MSIFN’s success – including jobs and charitable donations – depends on GBH’s success. Thus, fears of a potential market ‘cannibalization’ have been raised.

Meanwhile, in nearby Ajax, some more positive news has surfaced.

Unionized workers at casinos in Ajax and Pickering ratified a new four-year deal on Aug.8. The pair of establishments was the last of eight striking Ontario casinos to reach agreements.

Wage increases and a reduction in part-time staff were significant sticking points.

Photo by Bob Hilscher, Shutterstock
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