Ottawa Mayor Upbeat About New Casino Proposal
The proposal for any new gambling activity immediately creates a divide. There are benefits accruing from increased economic activity on one side and the social problems associated with gambling on the other. Ottawa is going through this process.tickets sold until 9 pm Eastern Time on draw nights.
Ottawa Mayor Backs New Land Casino
Jim Watson, the Mayor of Ottawa, said that he does not want punters from his city to cross the border and gamble at a casino in nearby Gatineau, in Quebec. Since the demand for gambling arises from Ottawa, the city should have its own casino to cater to that demand and thus stem the flow of millions of dollars in gambling money across the river to Gatineau.
Watson said that the advantage of having their own casino is two-fold. The first advantage arises from direct gambling activity. He added, "Secondly, it's a tourism draw. The number one tourist attraction in the national capital region is not Parliament Hill, it's the casino in Gatineau."
The combined benefit will create jobs in Ottawa, boost economic activity and bring in tax revenue. Watson will however have to weigh in the public opinion on the proposal of a new casino in Ottawa. After initial public comment, the city will vote on a casino report and then contact the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to prepare a more detailed proposal.
Most of the city councillors are however not willing to express a view either way. They would wait till they learn which way the public swings. Some of the councillors who have supported the mayor's stand are concerned over where the casino should be located.tickets sold until 9 pm Eastern Time on draw nights.
Toronto's Proposal For Land Casino
Ottawa is not the first city in Ontario to contemplate building a new land casino. Toronto had initiated the move early this year. Toronto's executive committee is scheduled to discuss a proposal prepared by the OLG on the "gaming entertainment centre" in the coming weeks. However, OLG chairman Paul Godfrey warned last week that the delays in decision making could kill the project.
OLG needs an answer from Toronto's councillors latest by the beginning of next year so that it could move to the next stage of involving the community and city hall. He added, "We look at it as not something that the OLG is going to impose, we look at it as something that we will receive input from groups ... and from city representatives as well."
Conservative Lisa MacLeod wants the province's auditor to review the plan, in light of a 2009 OLG report that Ontario casinos lost $46 million.