The potential for a casino in Ottawa is building steam as Mayor Jim Watson proposes the Rideau Carlton Raceway to be the site location for a casino. Believing strongly this will benefit the Ottawa region and keep gamblers from visiting border casinos in Quebec to play, Watson has been front and centre in talks with the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation to make a casino establishment happen for his city.
The Rideau Carlton Raceway has for years been a prime horseracing site for locals and tourists to come bet on the ponies. Since the turn of the millennium the OLG invested slot machines inside a gaming complex on site that have generated hundreds of millions in revenue. Watson argues that the success OLG has had at this location makes it a perfect place to setup Ottawa’s own casino.
Starting at 5pm October 2 the Finance and Economic Development Committee for Ottawa will officially introduce the motion requesting the OLG to find operators who would be interested in setting up a casino in the city. In addition to the official request there will be lengthy debate on the pros and cons of establishing a casino and how it might affect the Ottawa region. These issues will range from economic and financial benefits, operations and accessibility, and even the impact on both physical and mental health for citizens in the community.
Watson is also expected to submit a motion for the OLG to consider Rideau Carlton Raceway as “pre qualified” to be a part of the final bidding process for a casino establishment in Southern Ontario. With so much emphasis on establishing a casino in downtown Toronto, Watson is likely trying to level the playing field for his side in Ottawa too.
The mayor believes that the numbers from Rideau Carlton Raceway will speak for themselves as evidence for a strong gambling presence in the region that will only expand with a fully functioning casino. While pushing for Ottawa Watson also expects the OLG to allow an open, fair, and transparent process in both selecting a site for a casino and finding fully qualified operators to setup shop.