Article published on 18 April 2012

Toronto Committee to Study Downtown Casino Idea

No Decision on New Toronto Casino
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No decision regarding the introduction of a new casino in downtown Toronto was made this week, after the city council voted to defer the matter to the executive committee.

The idea is that the committee will examine different aspects of the proposal and report back to the city council before a predetermined date.

The Toronto executive committee will study issues such as employment and infrastructure requirements, allowing the city council to hold off from making a determining vote on such a volatile project for now.

The council is firmly divided over the idea of introducing a new casino in Toronto. One of the locations proposed is the now defunct Ontario Place which was closed down by the local government as it was losing money.

There is no doubt that the provincial government supports the idea as it will bring in much needed revenue to the cash strapped region.  It is believed that as many as 4,000 new jobs can be created through the establishment of the casino, and $4 billion can be brought in annually.

"Some of us really maintain that we need the revenue," noted Councilor Giorgio Mammoliti.

Opposition to New Toronto Casino

On the other hand, many councilors oppose the idea as they believe it won't be beneficial to the surrounding area, especially the city's downtown.

According to Councilor Mike Layton, "numbers don't support the claims that casinos bring great things for a city."

"It's actually a gamble for the city that could have a greater impact on us down the road," he warned.

Layton presented a motion to the council not to use the proposed Ontario Place as a venue for the new casino, although he was unsuccessful in his bid.

Another councilor, Adam Vaughan said that the majority of the city's residents did not like the idea of a new downtown Toronto casino and asked that a referendum be held.

Referendum on New Toronto Casino

One of the proposals that the committee to study the Toronto casino could put forth may be to hold a referendum on the issue. The mayor has already indicated his support for such a referendum, as well as his support for the creation of a casino.

About 15 years ago, the question of introducing a casino in the city limits was put to citizens of Toronto and 72% voted 'no'. It will be interesting to see whether their feelings on the matter have changed since 1997.

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