Ontario’s Charitable Gaming Conference will be held on Tuesday, November 7th and Wednesday, November 8th, 2023, at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Airport & Conference Centre, Toronto, Ontario. Jointly hosted by the Commercial Gaming Association Ontario (CGAO) and the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association (OCGA), this event focuses on the charitable gaming sector in Ontario and brings together commercial operators, charities, government partners, and gaming suppliers.
Hotel Information (SOLD OUT)
The Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Airport & Conference Centre is located at 655 Dixon Road, Toronto, Ontario.
Tuesday, November 7th
Trade Show Floor Opens
Policy & Legal Landscape
The Gaming Industry across Canada is changing at a rapid pace, listen to two experts, as they give an overview of these developments.
From recruiting charities to relationships with stakeholders, charitable gaming is a unique gaming sector. We will explore the challenges and opportunities with stakeholder relationships, resources, logistics, and how to work collaboratively for success.
Opening Keynote Address
Robert Poirier, Board Member, Ontario Lottery and Gaming
Duncan Hannay, President & CEO, Ontario Lottery and Gaming
Dave Forestell, Chair, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
Wednesday, November 8th
Breakfast & Tradeshow
Welcome & Keynote
Lynn Cassidy, Executive Director, Ontario Charitable Gaming Association
Peter McMahon, CEO, Commercial Gaming Association Ontario
Dr. Karin Schnarr, CEO & Registrar, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
This session is based on recent research by CanadaHelps, a national organization supporting charities in their fundraising efforts.
Lucas Froese, Senior Manager, Charity Engagement, CanadaHelps
This session will highlight the branding work led by OCGA to bring greater awareness across the province of the impact that charitable gaming makes in our communities.
Coffee Break Sponsor
Internet Gaming – An Ontario Success – The Story so Far
This session will share information on the success of Internet Gaming in Ontario to date and where it is headed in the future.
Peter McMahon, CEO, Commercial Gaming Association Ontario
Mitchell Davidson, Chief of Staff, iGO
Catherine Jarmain, Director, Industry Programs and Monitoring, iGO
Shelley White, CEO, Responsible Gambling Council of Ontario
Lunch & Trade Show
Municipalities and Charities Working Together
This panel of municipal staff and charities will discuss the opportunities and challenges faced in working together.
Richard Schwar, Director of Operations, OCGA
Melanie Barkman, Licensing Coordinator, City of Niagara Falls
Kristen Bridgman, Charity Gaming Analyst, City of Mississauga
Matthew Van Ramshorst, Lottery Licensing Officer, City of Thunder Bay
Patricia Gaston, Charity Coordinator, Delta Monte Carlo Gaming Sponsors Association (Niagara Falls)
Ryan Ibbott, President, Oakville Delta Gaming Centre Association
Compliance – Its Role in the Business
Don Bourgeois, Policy Advisor, CGAO
Carol Holmes, Principal, Agile Gaming Compliance
Melanie Halor, Consultant, Agile Gaming Compliance
Kelly Tessier-Engleberg, Senior Compliance Specialist, Gaming Advisory Services
Kevin Harriman, Compliance and Security, Delta Bingo & Gaming
Coffee Break Sponsor
This session will look at the success of eRaffles and what is needed in the future to grow this opportunity for charities.
Lynn Cassidy, Executive Director, OCGA
Kirk Arends, Vice President & General Manager, Charitable Gaming, Canadian Bank Note Company Limited
Rusty Parr, Senior Eligibility Officer, AGCO
As Commercial Operators continue with their re-investment projects, learn from the experts on the keys to managing a successful project and how to avoid the pitfalls.
David Fraser, Senior Director, cGaming, OLG
Stephen Hill, Director, Property Asset Mgt & Development, OLG
Rob Divecha, Senior Property Asset Manager, OLG
This session will provide information on the various initiatives under OCGA to look at the success of cGaming from many perspectives.
Lynn Cassidy, Executive Director, OCGA
Richard Schwar, Director of Operations, OCGA
Nichi Aikins, Field Coordinator, OCGA
Marketing – Mystery Shopper – Valuable Insights
Diane Gartshore, Advisor to CGAO
Andrew Faria, Vice President, RSG
Conference Speakers and Participants
Nichi Aikins is both the Field Coordinator for the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association and the Charity Coordinator for the Barrie Bingo Sponsors Association. She also was the Coordinator for the Newmarket Charitable Gaming Association. She brings over 17 years of industry experience and insight to both her current roles. Nichi was involved in the original cGaming pilots when Barrie was the first site to move to this model in 2005. As Charity Coordinator, Nichi is responsible for assisting and scheduling over 65 charities in the Barrie area. She is instrumental in supporting local charities to achieve their fundraising goals. As OCGA’s Field Coordinator, she utilizes her experience to support Charity Coordinators, charitable organizations, and stakeholders across the province. Nichi is instrumental in the collection and analysis of data to support decision-making and the development of tools to support charity acquisition. Nichi has a Visual Arts degree from Western University, which she utilizes in various design and marketing projects in the industry.
Kirk Arends is the Vice-President and General Manager of Charitable Gaming for Canadian Bank Note Company, headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. Kirk leads BUMP, Canadian Bank Note’s fundraising solutions division, and BUMP is the North American market leader in electronic raffles for professional sport foundations.
Kirk works closely with all types NPOs and charities to maximize their charitable revenue using BUMP’s innovative approach to offering exciting raffle products for in-person and online sales.
Kirk has over 15 years’ expert experience launching successful lotteries and raffles in Central America and North America. He has a long-term partnership approach that has produced positive results because he is passionate about product perception, marketing, and business analytics. Kirk believes that any organization, large or small, can run successful fundraising events.
Don Bourgeois is a Principal, GRG Advisors and counsel to Fogler, Rubinoff LLP. He was previously General Counsel at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, taught gaming law at Osgoode Hall Law School and authored The Law of Charitable and Casino Gaming and the Law of Charitable and Not-for-Profit Organizations. He is the policy advisor for CGAO.
Lynn Cassidy is the Executive Director, Ontario Charitable Gaming Association. Prior to joining the OCGA, Lynn held senior management positions with the Ontario provincial government and before that was Executive Director for two social service agencies providing treatment services to adolescents and families. She was also a part-time faculty member at George Brown College in the Child and Youth program for many years.
She has an Honours degree in Sociology and a Master of Business Administration. Lynn brings a unique combination of experiences with charities/non-profits, volunteer boards and governments.
Peter Czegledy is a Partner at Aird & Berlis and Chair of its Gaming Group. He has acted as principal legal adviser to the CGAO for a number of years, as well as representing a number of the association’s members. He has substantial expertise in charitable and other forms of gaming, advising clients on purchasing/divesting and growing such businesses, obtaining financing, and assisting with licensing, leasing, employment succession planning and other pertinent matters. Peter is widely recognized as a top practitioner by Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (Band 1), The Best Lawyers in Canada and Who’s Who Legal (Global Leader). He was named Best Lawyers' 2023 Lawyer of the Year in Gaming Law (Toronto) and Lexology's 2022 Client Choice Award winner for Gaming in Canada.
Mitchell Davidson is the Chief of Staff at iGaming Ontario where he supports its executive team in delivering on its mission to conduct and manage Ontario’s safe, efficient, and legal world-class igaming market. Mitchell previously served as Executive Director of the StrategyCorp Institute of Public Policy and Economy, a venture designed to contribute to thought leadership on public policy issues in Ontario and Canada. Prior to that, Mitchell served as the Executive Director of Policy to the Premier of Ontario and head of policy for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario from 2014 to 2019. Mitchell also serves as a lecturer at the University of Waterloo's Master of Public Service Program, a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center's Canada Institute, and an expert adviser to Toronto Metropolitan University's Leadership Lab. Mitchell hails from Oro-Medonte, Ontario and holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master of Arts in political science from the University of Western Ontario.
Rob Divecha 30 plus year career in the design, build and development industry has included both private and public sectors. He engaged in the planning, designing, and building oversight of facility projects (amounting to approximately two million square feet and $300 million).
Initially practicing as a commercial interior designer in Toronto, Rob expanded his role in project management. He specialized in the planning and oversight of CRE projects including the management of multi-disciplinary consultants on projects spanning corporate offices, data centers, law firms, public agencies, and manufacturing.
Since 2004, Rob’s industry experience increased with OLG to include gaming and entertainment projects – a highly regulated and demanding industry including fiscal commitments and responsibilities to the province and its people. Highlights include establishment of OLG’s Gaming Facilities Design Criteria; OLG’s Corporate Project Management Office; engagement with numerous municipalities to review their consideration of Gaming developments; and project lead for the new 5,000 seat OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino.
Lucas Froese is Senior Manager, Charity Engagement at CanadaHelps. Since 2018, Lucas has empowered thousands of charities and churches to create sustainable online fundraising strategies. At the forefront of new digital giving developments, he helps organizations build successful online giving programs.
Michael Halbmeier has over 21 years of digital marketing experience. He is focused on helping companies and organizations develop digital marketing initiatives that are both effective and cost-efficient. Michael lives and breathes digital marketing as a 61-time Google Ads and Analytics certified specialist and a two-time Certified Google Partners specialist. In addition, he also has certifications in: Microsoft Bing ads, HubSpot, SEMRush, Yandex, Waze, Moz, Houzz, Hootsuite, and Yahoo. He also aims to make the sometimes mysterious world of digital marketing more easily understood and accessible to all.
Career clients include: Arby's Canada, Kids Help Phone, General Motors, Canadian Olympic Committee, Petro Canada, Dave & Busters, M&M Food Market, Weight Watchers, and many more.
Melanie Halor, CAMs is a cGaming Compliance Consultant at Agile Gaming Compliance and has more than twenty years of experience in gaming and cGaming compliance with OLG. Melanie spent most of her career in management positions within surveillance departments in land-based gaming. The latter part of her career has been spent in cGaming Compliance with a focus on PCMLTFA (Melanie is a certified anti-money laundering specialist with ACAMS), Privacy, CASL, FLS and other legislation. Melanie also speaks, reads and writes in French, which is an asset for those sites located in a FLS designated area. Additionally, Melanie assumed a technical support role with OLG’s iGaming line of business during the pandemic. Melanie also has excellent working relationships with both AGCO and OLG Officials.
Stephen Hill is the Director, Property Asset Management and Development, Land Based Gaming, Ontario Lottery and Gaming. He has 30+ years in the construction industry leading or managing medium to large scale developments.
He directed the management and completion of more than 40 projects valued at more than $900M under budget and /or ahead of schedule through systematic planning and mitigation of field issues. Stephen is responsible for overseeing the development, design and implementation of both strategic and tactical programs related to construction of capital projects for the Gaming Division, Lottery,cGaming and Corporate. He was also responsible for the development of long- and short-range strategic capital project plans within the gaming division including site re-imaging, expansions, relocations, and new builds. With OLG’s modernization plans, focus has shifted to revenue optimization and value add opportunities within gaming, lottery (ILC oversight) and charitable gaming.
Stephen attended the University of Queens (Executive Program) (2015) and Executive Leadership Programs (University of Toronto, Rotman Advanced Management Forum). He has certifications in Project Management (University of Toronto); Construction Engineering Technology Management (Fanshawe College); Green Build and LEED (Las Vegas, Nevada); and Six Sigma (Champion).
Carol Holmes, is the owner and CEO of Agile Gaming Compliance, has more than thirty years of experience in the bingo industry. Carol has held the position of General Manager as well as cGaming Implementation/Compliance Manager for a large operator in the province. In 2014, Carol started with OLG as a Compliance Officer, specific to cGaming . Her cGaming background and input, led to OLG redesigning the cGaming Compliance audits that were performed at the sites. Carol also trained OLG business managers, OLG finance team and others, in bingo specific areas for cGaming. Carol is intimately familiar with bingo operations, in both 207 1(a) and 207 1(b) environments and charitable gaming compliance programs. Carol is experienced at navigating the unique challenges and opportunities found only in cGaming and has built excellent working relationships with both AGCO and
Catherine Jarmain is Director of Industry Programs and Monitoring at iGaming Ontario where she is responsible for anti-money laundering, responsible gambling, contract oversight and player disputes. Previously, Catherine was Director of Regulatory Intelligence and Innovation at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), responsible for integrating analytics into strategy and policy. She was also a director in the OPP’s Investigation and Enforcement Bureau, leading a team applying analytics into anti-money laundering work. Prior to the AGCO, Catherine was Director of Policy and Social Responsibility at Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. She holds a BA in Honours Economics from McGill University, a Master of Arts in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of International Studies, and an MBA from Ivey Business School at Western University.
Rusty Parr, Senior Eligibility Officer, Licensing and Registration Branch, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, has worked in the charitable gaming industry for over 30 years in both the public and private sectors. His career began with Bingo Country Newmarket, progressing from managing one site to overseeing several sites as Regional Manager. He moved on to work with Boardwalk Gaming in 2006, managing the first pilot cGaming site in Barrie, Ontario. He then transitioned to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in 2009. Since joining the AGCO, Rusty has been responsible for stakeholder engagement with charities, municipalities, and operators throughout Ontario, assisted in the development and implementation of the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming within the cGaming sector, and was responsible for overseeing the pilot of OLG’s Electronic Raffle (50/50) Program and implementation of the Catch the Ace Progressive Raffle framework.
Dr. Karin Schnarr is the new CEO and Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario joining the organization this past September after successful careers in government, management consulting and academia. Karin’s most recent position was as an Associate Professor, Strategic Management, at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) where she led the BBA and MBA programs and served on the University’s Board of Governors.
Karin is a seasoned relationship builder within organizations, across government and agencies, and with external partners and stakeholders. She has extensive Board of Directors and governance experience across multiple sectors and industries. Karin was recently the Chair of the Board of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, services two terms as the Vice-Chair of the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board and was a member of the iGaming Ontario board where she chaired the Corporate Affairs Committee. A strong community supporter, Karin also volunteers on the National Advocacy Committee for ALS Canada.
Karin received her PHD in Strategic Management (Corporate Governance) and her MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. She also holds a Master of Arts (English Literature) from Queen’s University and Bachelors of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Waterloo.
Richard Schwar has been working in the charitable gaming industry for 30 years with 20 years at OCGA. As Director of Operations for OCGA, Richard provides support to 37 charitable gaming associations and over 2,000 charitable organizations. His role includes policy development, compliance monitoring, developing and delivering training for charities, communications, and oversight of the marketing and promotion of charities and their community impact, He works closely with Ontario Lottery and Gaming to support 26 municipalities in determining the eligibility of charities and monitoring use of proceeds.
Richard represents OCGA on OLG’s Product Committee with the commercial operators. Richard has strong working relationships with all stakeholders in the Charitable Gaming sector including OLG, government, private sector operators and charitable organizations. He is also responsible for website development and provides technical support for the staff at OCGA .
Additionally, Richard has a role as Charity Coordinator for the Charitable Gaming Association of Sudbury, responsible for the financial management and coordination of approximately 100 charities raising funds for the Greater Sudbury community.
Kelly Tessier-Engelberg has over 20 years of extensive regulatory gaming compliance experience in both the public and the private gaming sector. Her unique career has evolved from working in Senior Compliance roles with the AGCO and OLG to working with an international land-based Casino Operator in Ontario, as well as cGaming Operators and Online Gaming Service Providers.
Kelly has a proven track record as a highly capable and professional compliance leader in developing compliance teams, providing solid direction and creating risk mitigation measures to ensure a robust entity-wide compliance regime.
Some examples of her successful achievements include developing the AGCO Notification Matrix, piloting cGaming sites Tap Tix implementation, assisting gaming sites through FINTRAC AML audits, creating AML and Privacy training programs and as Chief Compliance/Privacy Officer the driving force for her site achieving the Responsible Gambling Certification – RG Check.
Matthew Van Ramshorst is currently the Municipal Lottery Licensing Officer for the City of Thunder Bay. He was born and raised in Thunder Bay, so it has been an honour and privilege to work with local charitable or not-for-profit organizations involved in charitable gaming. While growing up in Thunder Bay, he experienced firsthand the benefits that organizations provide to the community that receive charitable gaming proceeds. The programs and services groups provide are vital to the community and it has been eye opening seeing all the work involved behind the scenes and the countless hours community volunteers provide. Matthew’s goal in my current position has been to support organizations as best I can.