OLG Puts Pressure on Toronto Regarding Casino
The Chairman of the Ontario Lottery Corporation, Paul Godfrey has put pressure on Toronto's politicians to make a decision regarding the construction of a new mega casino in the city.
Godfrey said this weekend that Toronto has a few months to make a decision and if not, he would give the option to other Ontario municipalities who would jump at the opportunity.
Godfrey noted on Friday that time was running out. "What we have to do is get this process finalized in 2013," he said. "It's not there, we're going to move on with it. We know that city council is going to debate this at the executive committee in November... so I would think that January, February at the latest."
Preference for Toronto to Build Casino
But while Godfrey is putting pressure on Toronto to make a decision, he made no secret of the fact that he would prefer the casino to be built in the city, saying that the waterfront or downtown area are the only places suited for a casino of such "iconic" proportions.
Selling his point, Godfrey told reporters: "Why do think the big hotels are downtown Toronto? Why do you think the Air Canada Center is in Toronto? Why do you think the Rogers Center is in downtown Toronto? They could have built an aquarium up in Newmarket, they could've build the Air Canada Center out in Oshawa."
$2 Billion in Capital Investments
Recently, Godfrey told the Toronto Board of Trade that the new OLG Toronto casino could easily create thousands of jobs. In addition, it would result in more than $2 billion in capital investments.
The planned casino would be build in the Greater Toronto Area at an as-of-yet unspecified location in the form of a large hospitality, retail and entertainment complex. Godfrey said that gambling would make up less than 10% of the proposed space.
Godfrey played down the fears presented by some politicians that building a casino could impact Toronto's society negatively. "Those that still connect casinos and crime are stuck in the mythologies of the Bugsy Siegel days," he said.
Godfrey was accompanied by the President and Chief Executive Officer of MGM Mirage Hospitality, Gamal Aziz. His company hopes to become a partner in the construction of the new casino.
"For what we do, downtown is the option that we would focus on," said Aziz.