The provincial government agency issued a request for information released this week that seek input from private-sector companies so it can assess potential vendor interest in helping it modernize the lottery and gaming industry across Ontario.
A map published by the OLG shows the Ottawa zone it is interested in developing within, stretching from Kanata to Rockland and covering most of the city.
The agency is only interested in owning one major casino in Ottawa that holds up to 2,000 slot machines, which means that if another location is selected, the Rideau Carleton Raceway would no longer include a gaming area.
"In each zone, a service provider would ... acquire the existing capital assets and assume operational responsibility for the existing site," the document states. "Where a site relocation is contemplated, a service provider would be permitted to relocate an existing site only within the boundaries of the zone."
The Rideau Carleton Raceway on Albion Road holds 1,250 slot machines, and made $139.6 million in gaming revenues in fiscal 2012, plus $100,000 in non-gaming revenues, according to an OLG document. It attracted 1.8 million visitors in its fiscal 2012 year.
The RFI will determine the range of options available in the market, identify potential vendors and assess risks. After the RFI closes, OLG will issue a request for qualifications that will ask interested vendors to show their experience and compliance with OLG and Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario requirements. A request for proposals will follow the pre-qualification round.
The RFP process may begin as early as this fall, according to the agency.
However there is no guarantee that a casino will be built in Ottawa, especially if city council - which has so far supported exploring the idea - opposes the project.
"OLG is continuing conversations with municipalities across the province to gauge interest in participating in our modernization initiative and we will focus only on communities which are interested in having a facility," stated Rod Phillips, OLG President and CEO. This means that a casino will not necessarily be built in each of the 29 zones.
The modernization project will increase revenues to the province by an additional $1.3 billion annually by 2017, which could go towards "key public priorities" such as health care and education, according to a background document.
Over the six-year period, the OLG claims it will provide an additional $4.6 billion total to the Ontario government, and will add 2,300 net new jobs in the industry (in new gaming facilities and related amenities, as well as in digital gaming design and management), as well as around 4,000 service sector jobs in hotels, restaurants, entertainment centres and retail.
OLG will retain complete oversight of the sector.
The RFI is posted on the procurement website Merx, and closes on July 4. A second RFI is expected to be published within the next few weeks.
An OLG report released in March said that the Crown Corp. will also close or relocate "underperforming" gaming facilities.
OLG is the largest gaming organization in North America, with 33 gaming sites and 10,000 lottery points of sale, according to the agency.