It is hotting up in the race to become Ontario’s only operator of gambling services, with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation preparing to give full control of all gambling action within the Greater Toronto region.

Reports suggest that one of the leading contenders to win the tender is Caesars Entertainment, which remains one of, if not the biggest gambling corporations on the planet. It is one of three remaining parties being considered, including the ever-growing Genting Group and a Canadian-based organisation, Brookfield Asset Management.

The trio of companies are bidding for control of a market reportedly valued at $1.83bn, with the successful operator set to earn upwards of $72m per annum during the 22-year contractual period.

Historically, gambling services across Canada have been federally operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. However, all responsibility for bricks and mortar casinos, horse racing, lotteries, sports and online betting will be relinquished as a result of this tender.

There is no doubt that this shake-up of Canadian gambling operations is due to the declining revenues in recent times, with a strategic decision taken to remove control from the state and enable the private sector to breathe new life into the Canadian gambling industry.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has since closed applications for tender, with the gaming board expected to decide in the coming days as to their winning bid.

Toronto-based MP, Shafiq Qaadri, said of the developments: “I’m looking forward to the long-awaited day when we can inaugurate a ‘Vegas North’ right here in the riding, bringing tourism, concerts, conferences, activity and buzz.”

One potential opportunity for the winning operator would be to seek development of the Woodbine Racecourse situated in close proximity to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and Highway 401.

Its attractive position increases the potential for a brand-new gambling development within Woodbine’s 680-acre site, delivering genuine economic development to the Rexdale area.

Despite the current decline in land-based gambling revenue in Canada, the action continues to hot up online.

An increasing number of Canadian online casinos like Spin Palace are partnering with the iGaming industry’s pioneering software developer, Microgaming, to provide a state-of-the-art online casino experience that replicates the adrenaline rush of betting in a bricks and mortar casino as closely as possible.

The Canadian Gaming Summit 2017 focused firmly on the rapid acceleration of growth in Canada’s online gaming sector. Last year, the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) estimated that Canadians spend up to $4bn a year gambling at online sports betting websites alone.

When you take into consideration that Canadian players have access to so much more than sports books, i.e. online casinos and bingo and poker rooms, that initial $4bn figure must surely escalate when you take into consideration the entirety of the iGaming sector.

Chuck Nervick, senior vice president, MediaEdge, believes iGaming is enticing more genuine gamblers online than ever before, with land-based casinos actually becoming more attractive to families as fully-fledged entertainment resorts.

“[A patron] doesn’t necessarily need to come into the casino [to gamble],” said Nervick.

“They can come in and have a beautiful dinner. They can watch sports games, they can be entertained.”