The Toronto casino is under intense debate with near equal support and opposition to the OLG proposal as well as viable locations within the city. Union groups are divided over the net economic benefits over the potential social health risks, while gambling operators and private businesses invest time and money lobbying for the ideal location.
The most media prominent location of late has been at Exhibition Place, with potential owner MGM marking the land as the perfect location for a casino in Toronto. The casino firm created model designs of their proposal to generate support within the community, as well as on city council.
However, restaurant owners in the downtown area are rallying behind the proposal for a casino at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. City councilors have received letters from owners of the Hey Lucy restaurant, the Old Spaghetti Factory, Michael’s On Simcoe, Biagio, and Oliver & Bonacini – all of which support the proposal for a downtown casino location. The owners believe that the millions of tourists attracted to the casino will spend money at other businesses within the community, especially the many restaurants dotting the streets surrounding the Convention Centre area.
John Carbone is the owner of the Kit Kat restaurant in downtown Toronto, who hasn’t decided where he stands on the casino proposal. But he told news reporters that regardless of the location, a casino must provide infrastructure spending to improve the wards of the city – especially the downtown core.
“We need more conventions, more business travellers and some more vibrancy in the city.”
Toronto will decide its casino fate later this spring, and feedback from the community will significantly contribute to the final decision.