A recent article in The Globe and Mail by journalists Andrew Willis and Jeffrey Jones discusses Catalyst Capital Group Inc.’s ongoing efforts to either sell Gateway Casinos Entertainment Ltd. or take it public. According to the article, Catalyst is trying to negotiate a sale to U.S. casino operators who either are already established in Ontario or are interested in entering the Canadian market. Gateway currently runs nine casinos in Ontario and in March entered into an agreement with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) for three additional properties. Great Canadian Gaming Corp. is the other major domestic gaming company. It runs 21 casinos, including eight in Ontario. Ilkim Hincer, Co-Chair of Osler’s Gaming Specialty Group, comments on the existing ownership landscape of Ontario casinos.
“The Canadian gaming industry and the international gaming industry has been a little surprised that most of the province [of Ontario] has gone to these two companies given that they’re not major global gaming companies,” Ilkim says.
He goes on to explain that, when the province began selling its casinos, “OLG wanted to create world-class gaming entertainment options for patrons, in a socially responsible way. The idea was that they would draw a lot of attention from these international gaming companies, like [Las Vegas Sands Corp.], MGM, Caesars.”
Willis and Jones explain that several U.S. companies are interested in expanding their presence in the Ontario market. In addition, Catalyst has hired Morgan Stanley and CIBC World Markets Inc. to lead a possible IPO.