Canada’s Casino Culture Is Greener Than You Might Expect

It’s not something we tend to think about too much when it comes to green initiatives, but casinos are somewhat devastating from an energy consumption perspective.

These are massive, overblown entertainment centers bursting with lights and low-efficiency attractions, and because they rake in untold millions in business there’s little incentive to change or get rid of them. As it happens, Canada actually has a fairly extensive casino culture.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, known for corporate branding purposes simply as OLG since 2006, is a Crown corporation owned by the Government of Ontario, Canada. It is responsible for the province’s lotteries, charity and Aboriginal casinos, commercial casinos, and slot machines at horse-racing tracks.

There are resorts and gaming centers spread around the country, in part because they’re popular, but also to capitalize on American tourists who cross the border to partake in legal gambling. It’s a steady, widespread business throughout the more southern regions of the country.
The good news, though, is that this casino culture in Canada is actually a bit greener than one might assume. Or at least it’s been trending in that direction in recent years.

The most noteworthy development connecting Canadian casino industries with any sort of green initiative came back in 2015 when Ontario Lottery & Games – one of the biggest Canadian companies in this industry – partnered with Bullfrog Power to run some of its online gaming sites.

Specifically for the sites PlayOLG and Know Your Limit, OLG “chose 100 percent clean, pollution-free electricity” through Bullfrog. This was actually a sort of extension of an existing partnership between the two companies and served to shed light on some other, less heralded sustainability efforts OLG had already practiced – such as shrinking the sizes of lottery tickets to save nearly 40 million sheets of paper.

Partnering with a green energy company to help sustain two websites responsibly may not seem like a very big deal for a full-fledged casino and lottery company. However, when you understand the scope of the Canadian casino business, the concept starts to seem more impactful.

While the country does, as mentioned, have some live casinos dotted about here and there, its online gaming sites are the real core of the industry and handle millions and millions of visitors. So for even a handful of these sites to be run in a manner that emphasizes sustainability can mean significant energy savings – not to mention it could set a positive example for other sites.

In the meantime, Bullfrog and OLG have also made strides in other areas that make a substantial, if the less direct impact on turning Canada’s casino industry greener.

For instance, even before the agreement regarding PlayOLG and Know Your Limit, the two companies partnered so that OLG could buy Bullfrog’s green energy for its Woodbine-based racecourse. And in 2014, OLG announced that all of its digital signage – some 1,200 signs spread across 19 gaming sites and additional offices – would be supported by the same pollution-free electricity provided by Bullfrog.

Now, none of this makes the gaming industry in Canada clean or efficient on the whole, and there’s still a long way to go when considering green efforts in casino businesses.

However, this ongoing effort over the course of several years does show some potential for this typically wasteful industry to adopt a progressive position regarding the environment.

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