Mississauga First Nation Scold Ontario Over its Hasty Market Decision

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Mississauga. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Mississauga First Nation of Scugog Island remains bitter over the introduction of the new iGaming market in Ontario.

Scugog Island’s Mississauga First Nation has continued to voice its dissatisfaction with the introduction of the new and regulated iGaming operator market in Ontario. Mississaugas claim that no proper consultations were held with the province’s indigenous communities prior to the launch. The tribe worries that the new market could potentially hurt their current gambling operations, resulting in revenue loss and job cuts. 

The province’s new online gambling and sports wagering market kicked off on 4 April 2022. The market segment is administered by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and its subsidiary, iGaming Ontario. Mississauga First Nation is concerned since it believes that the new market will negatively impact its gaming halls in Durham and the overall economy of many local First Nations.

Potentially Negative Impact

Mississauga Chief, Kelly LaRocca, believes that the province launched the new market too soon and without proper data to back its plans. LaRocca shared that the province has not provided sufficient information to the tribe on how the new market model would work and its impact on the land-based gambling venues across the province.

LaRocca also noted that Ontario presented very little background data and engaged in barely any communication with First Nations and Ontarians in general. She stated that the provincial government should have taken a slow approach by exclusively allowing existing land-based operators to offer online gambling services through a tethering system.

LaRocca further advised that the tribe plans to take legal action against the province for its decision not to consult them and launch a new casino in Pickering. Previously, there were concerns that a new casino would affect the Great Blue Heron Casino, as fewer gamblers would visit the facility, leading to job losses.

Over the last three quarters of 2021, Pickering received CA$7.8 million for hosting the casino. This includes almost CA$2.3 million for the final quarter of last year, which was lower than expected. According to estimates, Ontario’s new iGaming market could cause the loss of over 2,500 local casino industry jobs over the next five years, resulting in a shortfall of US$190 million in local economy contributions and a CA$3 billion loss in provincial tax revenue.

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