According to revenue projections published by the Ontario government on Thursday, OLG is forecast to only make $200 million in revenue by the end of the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
The projection is a far cry from the corporation’s three-year high in 2019 and 2020 when it made $2.3 billion in gambling revenue, funds that support provincial government program spending.
As the Ontario government imposed strict public health-related measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, all casinos across the province were shut down. Officials said a “significant portion” of revenue comes from casinos.
Even as a large geographic portion of the province moved to stage three of Ontario’s reopening, a cap of 50 customers in casinos also impacted the ability to collect revenue.
The government is set to spend a record $187 billion with $30 billion specifically in pandemic-related spending. The budget laid out three different scenarios that could see the province’s deficit levels change in the coming years depending on how long the pandemic lasts.
Currently, it is forecasting lower deficits of $33.1 billion in 2021-2022 and $28.2 billion in 2022-2023 if economic growth progresses at a moderate rate. The fiscal plan does not lay out a path to balance, with the government saying that will come in the 2021 budget.
However, there was a bit of good news on the financial front. The provincially owned Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is expected to see $80 million in revenue in 2020 and 2021, a sharp increase for the newer corporation. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, it received $19 million in revenue.
According to government projections, OCS will bring in $170 million in revenue in 2021 and 2022. The increase was attributed to the expansion of cannabis stores across Ontario.