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Centre Wellington to get 4 per cent of casino sports betting

The Township of Centre Wellington council will get money from sports betting through the Elements Casino Grand River
Elements casino in Elora.

CENTRE WELLINGTON — Expanded gambling options at Grand River Raceway's Elements Casino raised some concerns at Centre Wellington council Monday.

Sports betting, called Sportsbooks, has come to several Ontario casinos, including Grand River, allowing people to bet on a variety of sporting events.

Council updated its agreement with the casino operators, which will see the township receive four per cent of the money wagered on sports in addition to revenue it already receives from slots.

Grand River does not have a sports lounge at this time, but has two kiosks for spots betting. They opened Oct. 28.

Coun. Barbara Lustgarten-Evoy was focused on the health of residents.

“In the name of doing our due diligence as a community and keeping the safety and well being of our community members forefront of our mind. Just to confirm, we’ve checked in that by adding an extra activity, program, option for the betting public, we’re not adding to the health and wellbeing of our people by so doing?” Lustgarten-Evoy said.

CAO Dan Wilson confirmed that OLG takes some responsibility for the health of customers.

“Yes ... the OLG are very mindful of the health and wellbeing of their customers,” Wilson said.

Elements Casino Grand River has what is called a PlaySmart Centre to help people gamble safely.

OLG does spend money on the wellbeing of those who use its gaming systems.

“And it does mention that they do take a portion of their funds and put it towards the health and wellbeing of their customers. So that's something that we’re very impressed with, with the OLG facility and really like the fact that they communicate that out to the public,” Wilson said.

The township invests money from Elements Casino Grand River primarily in capital projects such as roads and bridges.

In 2021, the township received $1,205,365 from the casino. However, this was a lower-than-usual amount due to pandemic restrictions that were in place.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.