Ontario Lottery and Gaming to Remove 600 Slot Machines from the Fort Erie Racetrack
Customers of the Fort Erie Racetrack Slots will have a less selection in slot machines to pick from by June 2010. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) announced on January 29th, 2010 that it will be scaling down the number of slot machines currently installed at the slots establishment from 1,079 machines to 400 hundred machines.
The OLG spokesperson, Don Pister, said that the upcoming change will not result in mass layoffs, but some employees will be a offered a reduction in hours, a voluntary buyout or a transfer to another OLG gaming location. Pister said that the OLG is studying the efficiency and "gaming variation" of many of its sites across Ontario and when Fort Erie's location was evaluated, removing more than 600 slot machines was the best option.
Pister said that in Fort Erie's case, it means shifting to fewer slot machines at this time. Pister added that a drop in the number of tourists at the site influence the removal of the slot machines, stating that revenues are not on the level that they used to be, before the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and other border related problems had such a big effect on how often US residents visit Ontario Lottery and Gaming facilities.
Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor said that he would have liked to have been invited when the announcement was made to the staff of the Fort Erie Racetrack so he could fully explain that this was also a part of the solution to keep live racing at the Fort Erie Racetrack and that layoffs was not part of the plan.
In December 2009, the newly-formed Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, announced that it will be managing the 112-year-old border oval as a non-profit group as a trial period for the next 3 years, after the provincial government agreed to contribute a total of $5.6 million annually towards keeping the track open, permitting thousands of individuals to keep their jobs.