GTA Communities Table Casino Debates


Despite the recent resignation of the OLG Board, the organization remains committed to its gaming modernization strategy.  The casino proposal in the heart of downtown Toronto was officially rejected by city council earlier this week in an overwhelming 40-4 vote.  Nevertheless, casino proposals remain on the betting table within surrounding GTA communities.

The city of Vaughan will host its own casino council debate on Tuesday May 28, in a manner similar to the Toronto debate that occurred earlier this week.  The OLG named Vaughan as one of the alternate locations for a GTA casino early in the proceedings if the proposal for downtown Toronto was rejected.  However, similar to Toronto, several segments of the Vaughan community oppose the casino regardless of the economic benefits touted by pro-casino councilors and OLG representatives.

Mario Racco, a former Ontario MPP whose wife is part of Vaughan city council, believes the city is economically viable without a casino, a position that is reportedly shared among several city councilors.

We are doing well in Vaughan, we don’t need a casino.”

The Markham community was also considered a viable casino community, but councilors rejected the proposal during a vote held in late 2012.  But Markham councilor Jim Jones will reintroduce the motion next week.  In light of the outcome in Toronto, Jones believes a casino in Markham can help finance redevelopment projects in the community, similarly to how the casino in Brantford helped rebrand its downtown region.

“We’ve been working for 25 years to try to develop a city centre and this is one of the catalysts that can make it all happen.”

Jones’ motion is reportedly supported by Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who agrees a casino will provide new sources of revenue to support revitalization in the community.  However, the mayor is considering asking Jones to keep his motion off the table for the time being until new leaders emerge at the OLG.

“The ball is in OLG’s court at this moment.  I think we really need to hear from them.”


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