Toronto Casino Vote Delayed

The Toronto casino vote has been delayed longer than expected, according to a joint release statement from Toronto city hall and the OLG.  An executive sub-committee put together by Mayor Rob Ford to review the casino proposal won’t see the report compiling all the information next week as scheduled.  Ford’s staff refused to discuss the issue in greater detail, while OLG President Rod Phillips says the province is still committed to working with the city.

Ford’s committee was expected to debate the casino report beginning March 20, after which the committee would vote on the casino proposal.  The results of the committee vote are scheduled to pass onto the entire Toronto city council, which will have final say on the casino agenda.  But the delay of the report means the committee debate won’t begin on March 20 as planned, which means the committee review might be delayed until April 23 at its next scheduled meeting – though city spokesperson Jackie DeSouza says there is no official date yet.

It will be up to the mayor to call the special executive and the special council meeting.

City councilors opposed to the casino immediately used the delay to rally support for their positions, most notably Adam Vaughan who has regularly challenged Ford over the casino agenda.  Vaughan believes the casino hosting fees Toronto receives from the OLG won’t be the figures advertised by Ford or OLG President Phillips.  The OLG has only confirmed Toronto will receive between $50 and $100 million in hosting fees – though Vaughan points out those figures were initially advertised as much higher.  Vaughan believes time should be up for review.

“They don’t have the numbers, they don’t have the votes and they don’t have the support of the city.”

The delay comes after prospective operator MGM revealed its designs for the Toronto casino at Exhibition Place.  The Las Vegas based company has extensively lobbied councilors to support the casino over the last few weeks, and the delay gives MGM more time to make its case. 

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