Reported a C$70 million loss after paying nearly $300 million to the province

Ontario’s five government-owned resort casinos lost about C$70 million in the last fiscal year after paying nearly $300 million to the province, according to official figures.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which owns Caesars Windsor, Casino Rama in Orillia, Casino Niagara and Casino Fallsview in Niagara Falls and Great Blue Heron Charity Casino Slot Machine Facility in Port Perry, had combined expenses of about $1.5 billion. Revenue and income amounted to roughly $1.43 billion.

The casinos’ contribution to the province, earmarked for hospitals and schools, is set at 20 percent of gambling revenues and totaled $287 million last year. Without this payment the casinos would have shown a $217 million profit.

In the 2008 fiscal year, the casinos recorded a net loss of $55 million.

In news reports Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan denied that the casinos are money-losers, although he acknowledged that the industry has fallen on hard times in recent years.

“We have seen a real decline in business in the last few years, there’s no question about it,” he said. “We’re hoping that we’ve hit bottom.”