A strategy is being developed in Sault Ste. Marie to become a hub for lottery and gaming know-how and to grow its offerings to a nationwide audience.
Since the headquarters for Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) were established there more than 25 years ago, the city has grown its expertise to include more than 900 people employed in the industry, said Leo Tiberi, executive lead on the gaming strategy. Now the city wants to grow it further.
"We're basically the only Canadian city actively developing the lottery and gaming cluster to this extent," Tiberi said.
"There are other communities that have provincial lottery offices, but ours seems to have this concentrated effort, with the funding behind it, to execute the plan that we're trying to do over the next three years."
The city is already home to gaming-related organizations like Canadian Bank Note, which manufactures lottery scratch tickets; Pollard Banknote, which provides turnkey lottery packages; and BMR, a marketing and communications agency.
And it is a booming sector. The Canadian Gaming Association pegs industry revenues at more than $16 billion, and 128,000 people are employed in the sector.
A very "complex and highly regulated industry," lottery and gaming requires people with a range of expertise, Tiberi said, including finance, accounting, human resources, IT, marketing, programming, and more.
"So as a result, because of technology changes, because of demographic changes, the industry is evolving and we want to ensure that Sault Ste. Marie evolves with it and is in a position to attract new businesses as well as grow the existing businesses better here," he said. "Our ultimate goal is to create more jobs."
In March, the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre launched the Lottery and Gaming Pursuit Project, a three-year strategy with a four-pronged approach to cultivate products and services for the gaming industry: business development, innovation, talent management, and outreach (marketing and communications).
The province is providing $1.2 million toward the strategy; the city and other partners are also contributing funds.
In tandem with the strategy, the Sault Ste. Marie Education Partners (SSMEP) and the Canadian Gaming Association are undertaking...