The Western Greater Toronto Area (West GTA) gaming bundle has been awarded to a coalition of Great Canadian Gaming Corp. and Clairvest Group Inc. The companies will develop and operate four casino properties west of Toronto. Great Canadian has casino properties throughout the provinces with a heavy presence in BC and Clairvest is a private equity firm located in Toronto.
The publicly traded Great Canadian’s (TSX:GC) shares were up a little over $4 per share to $34.15 on volume of 238,082 shares on news of the announcement. Great Canadian is the majority owner of the JV at 55% and will operate the properties while Clairvest holds a 45% position and will presumably underwrite expansions and refurbishments.
The province’s only non-First Nation true casino at Brantford is part of the package as are three OLG slots entertainment centers at horse tracks including OLG Slots at Flamboro Downs, OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack, and OLG Slots at Grand River Raceway. Brantford is the only one of the three that current has live dealers and croupiers manning traditional table games rather than assisting electronic tables.
The bundle award is good for 20 years, giving the companies exclusive rights to develop and operate the properties that currently employ nearly 1,500 people and offer 60 table games and 2,500 combined slot positions.
The West GTA adds to Great Canadian’s August coup which saw the Crown Corporation Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation awarded the Greater Toronto Area Bundle to Great Canadian and Brookfield Business Partners LP (TSX:BBU.UN). That bundle included the highly coveted OLG Slots at Woodbine, which is about 10 minutes away from Toronto Pearson International Airport and is expected to become a true destination casino and entertainment center.
Also included in the August GTA bundle, which Clairvest took a 2% stake in, was the Great Blue Heron Casino located in the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, and OLG Slots at Ajax Downs. Brookfield and Great Canadian each control 49% of that company which was registered as Ontario Gaming GTA LP (OGGLP). That bundle is good for 22 years and the companies are expected to share in about %70 of the properties’ revenue which saw gross numbers of over $1 billion in 2016.
The online casino, poker, parlay sports, and lottery site PlayOLG was not included in either bundle.
You can read all about the lay of the land and who’s who in the Ontario gambling business in our supplemental: Ontario Casinos.