OLG to close Fort Erie slots Apr. 30 0
Fort Erie officials want to convince the province to allow the town to take over the Slots at Fort Erie Race Track, which had been run by Ontario Lottery and Gaming for 13 years until it closed Monday. MIKE DIBATTISTA, Niagara Falls Review
The OLG Slots at Fort Erie Race Track shut down temporarily Wednesday morning for Ontario Lottery and Gaming officials to tell workers the slot machines will stop ringing for good April 30.
Employees who left a 9 a.m., meeting with OLG representatives told reporters they had been told the slots operation will be closed then. They were called to a 9 a.m., meeting at a hotel to learn the news.
OLG, the provincial Crown corporation responsible for the province's gambling industry, announced this week it would be scrapping the 13-year-old slots-at-racetracks program as part of its "modernizing" of gambling in Ontario.
Other slots operations at tracks in Windsor and Sarnia will also close then, employees said.
Town officials were also scheduled to meet the OLG representatives at nearby town hall at 10 a.m. Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin said Monday OLG's plans for the gambling industry would be "devastating" to his town.
Other changes OLG is considering include the closure of "underperforming" casinos, though neither the Crown corporation nor the government have defined what's meant by that term.
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has said he wants to get more money out of OLG as the provincial Liberal government tries to dig out of its $16-billion deficit.
The Fort Erie slots will remain closed Wednesday, but re-open Thursday at 9 a.m.
One worker said they were told it would be "business as usual" when business resumes.
Slots employees were given termination notices Wednesday.
Some people were told they could stay on until June 1 to help close down the slots operation which has been in business at the track since 1999.
They were told they would receive severance packages based on how long they had worked at the slots, but specific amounts weren't given to them.