Mixed Views About New Ontario Casino Plans
Ever since the provincial government, through the Ontario Lottery Corporation, announced in March that it would consider private proposals to build or upgrade its casino gambling facilities across the province, many communities have been weighing the idea carefully.
The OLG plans to offer communities in 29 predefined zones the opportunity to
accept their offer and begin a bidding process, however there have been mixed
views to the idea of new casinos in Ontario.
Some towns in the province are warming to the idea and have not rejected outright, while others have already decided to opt out. In fact, some towns have taken the express decision to avoid discussing the idea of a new Ontario casino at all.
The city of Brampton for example, said that it had no plans to discuss the idea of a new casino anytime soon.
"Nothing has been formally stayed or put on agendas as something the city is interested in at this time," said the manager of media communications for Brampton, Gordon Smith.
Oshawa is another community where the debate hasn't even come up.
Communities Vote For and Against Ontario Casino
Some of the Ontario communities have mulled the idea, including Pickering and Markham, however their final decision has been to vote against taking the matter of gambling facilities any further.
On the flip side, however, Kingston is hoping to get public feedback on the idea before making a decision, and hopes to pursue the matter before a council vote in fall.
The same can be said for North Bay, whose mayor, Al McDonald said: "We're trying to proceed cautiously, but knowing there will be strong views on either side. It's a divisive issue. My hope as mayor is that it doesn't divide the community or council."
For Sudbury, however, there is no question that expanding its existing horse track makes sense and there is strong support for gaming in the community.
"Currently we get about $2.5 million a year in revenues from that casino, which, at the end of the day, does lower taxes," said Sudbury mayor, Marianne Matichuk. "Gambling's been around for a long time. People play cards, they play on the internet, it's just the way it is. It's up to communities to decide what they want to do."
New Toronto Casino Debate Rages
In the meantime, the debate about whether or not to build a casino in downtown Toronto is raging.
The council is waiting for a special staff report due out in October which will present the pros and cons on the building of the waterfront establishment.