Call to Review Ottawa Casino Proposal
The Canadian Centre for Policy Studies has called on the Ottawa government to commission a thorough review of the proposal to construct a new casino in the downtown area of the city.
The think tank wants answers to questions regarding how the casino will affect local businesses, as well as problem gamblers.
The center believes that city councillors are being pressured to move faster than they are comfortable with to make a decision about the new Ottawa casino, and don't understand the rush. They therefore believe that an intensive review will give city councillors the answers and allow them to make an educated decision.
"At the end of the day, city council's job is to decide what's in the best interest of the citizens of Ottawa," said the director of provincial and municipal affairs for the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, Mike Patton. "They should do that based on an informed decision."
Decision on New Ottawa Casino
After a marathon session last week, Ottawa's Finance and Economic Development Committee voted to endorse a new casino in the downtown area. Today, the council will vote to ratify the decision.
However, Patton believes that things are moving too fast. "I think councillors are being pressured by both the mayor and Queen's Park to hurry up," he said. "There's no compelling reason that this has to happen this week."
Some city councillors have said that they would support the idea of more research on a new casino and how it will affect Ottawa's economy in the long run, however they admit that the results of such a study would only become available after the vote today.
How will Casino Affect Local Racetrack?
One of the things that the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies believes should be investigated is how the casino will affect the Rideau Carleton Racetrack and the income generated by slots at the track. At present, the slots bring in $4.4 million to the city each year and it is feared that a new casino will impact these revenues greatly.
This is the type of thing that should be taken into account when considering the idea of a new casino in Ottawa, said the center.
The think tank, however, has stressed that it is not working for or against the idea of the casino - it is simply advocating for a proper and thorough process in the form of an Ottawa casino proposal review.
"Let's get results of the study first, look at the results, then vote," said Patton