Friday May 17,2013 : MAJOR MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS IN ONTARIO LOTTERY
Will this delay the move into online gambling?
The news Thursday that Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) chief executive Paul Godfrey has been fired, causing the entire board of directors to quit in protest, has triggered speculation that the management disruption could delay the Canadian province's entry into the online gambling market, scheduled for later this year or early 2014.
Godfrey claims in media interviews that he was not given any reasons for his dismissal by provincial finance minister Charles Sousa, and says that to his knowledge there was no justification for his dismissal.
But he has said that the recently (February) appointed provincial premier Kathleen Wynne has indicated to him that she has a different strategy for the OLG, something which he does not believe Ontario can afford to embark upon.
For his part, Sousa issued the usual bland and political statement, praising Godfrey's contribution in turning the OLG's fortunes around, but omitting any reasons for his dismissal.
Wynne has indicated that Godfrey's duties will be taken over temporarily by cabinet secretary Peter Wallace until a permanent replacement for Godfrey is found.
The new head of the provincial government is reportedly not a fan of gambling, which doesn't bode well for already advanced plans in the populous but cash-strapped province for an expansion of land and online gambling.
After years of considering online gambling possibilities in the wake of the successful internet gambling ventures of fellow-provinces Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia, Ontario appeared to be making real progress, with a Request For Proposals from prospective internet gambling software providers reportedly due soon.
Where the current debacle leaves this initiative is at present anyone's guess.