OLG President Rod Phillips has been making speeches to communities around Ontario to shore up support for the OLG’s casino development plans. Last week, Phillips was in Hamilton at the request of a city council sub-committee to answer questions about the OLG’s plans. This week Phillips was back in Toronto to tout the economic benefits a casino would bring to communities in the Greater Toronto Area.
The OLG has been very vocal about its plans for a casino in downtown Toronto, which Phillips believes “is a significant opportunity for Toronto”. However, the OLG has been very clear that if city councils do not endorse the casino proposal, it will not be forced upon them. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has established a sub-committee similar to the one in Hamilton, to take the issue to the public. The casino has received both widespread support and opposition in Toronto neighbourhoods. Perhaps due to the divisiveness of the issue, Phillips relented somewhat on the OLG insistence for a downtown Toronto casino location when he spoke at the Canadian Club of Toronto.
“Mississauga, Markham and Vaughan are also evaluating the potential to host the new GTA site. A gaming entertainment centre would mean increased employment, 9,500 new good-paying, permanent jobs.”
The OLG CEO says a casino in the GTA region will be the most lucrative for the Ontario government, and has the potential to reach the highest number of gamers. But at his speech inside the Fairmont Royal Hotel, Phillips suggested a location chosen outside the city would make more sense from an investment perspective. He argued that the cost of land elsewhere in the GTA is much more affordable than in the downtown core of the city. This would help save what Phillips says is $1 billion in costs, and provide easier access for gamers to visit the casino.
“Ultimately, the OLG and the provincial government will need to determine the best location considering both the direct revenue opportunities and overall economic impact.”
Ford’s committee is expected to vote on the casino proposal early next year.