Casino odds good

The odds are stacking up in favour of a casino in North Bay.

A couple of city politicians are still skeptical, but it looks increasingly likely council will approve of a gaming facility in the city.

Some members are clearly stating they’re behind Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s bid to bring a private-sector casino operator to the city, while several others are saying they’re inclined at this point to support the concept, but haven’t yet made up their minds.

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Ajax offers Whitby 15 per cent of OLG Slots revenue

Whitby council to discuss proposal Sept. 10

AJAX — Ajax council has offered to share 15 per cent of its future revenue from OLG Slots at Ajax Downs with the Town of Whitby.

The decision was made unanimously during a special council meeting Friday, Aug. 24, and is contingent on Whitby declaring it is not a willing host for an OLG gaming facility.

As part of OLG’s efforts to modernize gaming in Ontario, it is looking to establish privately-operated casinos in 29 zones in Ontario, one of which covers the Ajax, Pickering and Whitby area.

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Las Vegas gambling mogul visits Rob Ford to lobby for casino

In the latest sign of the high-rollers’ interest in a Toronto casino, Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire gambling magnate and Republican megadonor, has paid a personal visit to Mayor Rob Ford.

Mr. Adelson, 79, is the chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., one of at least three Nevada-based gambling empires that have expressed interest since the province announced plans to open a casino in the Greater Toronto Area.

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Carpenter builds case for casino staying put

Ward 4 Coun. Richard Carpenter wants Brantford to be on record as wanting to keep the OLG Casino at its current location.

Carpenter presented a resolution at Monday’s operations and administration committee asking the province to keep the casino at its present location at the intersection of Market Street and Icomm Drive at the southern edge of the downtown.

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Council divided over downtown casino

City councillors are united about one thing when it comes to the future of gambling in Hamilton: Flamboro Downs comes first.

But they’re divided about whether a downtown casino is a good idea.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) announced a massive “modernization” earlier this year that includes plans for one casino in the Hamilton/Burlington area. It’s still not clear whether that means Flamboro Downs will remain open — council’s preference — or whether a new facility will be built.

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Full house expected at casino meeting

All of the players involved in the North Bay casino debate are expected to lay their cards on the table Wednesday during a public meeting at city hall.

The meeting, which starts at 6 p.m., is aimed at gauging public opinion and helping council decide if it should say yes to a potential casino development.

“We want to hear from anybody who wants to express an opinion for or against,” said Coun. Dave Mendicino, chairman of community services.

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Slots cuts to create jobs, study says

An Ontario government report says that redirecting $345 million from the Slots at Racetrack program will create up to 6,700 health and education jobs.

The confidential report is dated March 14 – two days after the decision to end the slots program – and was prepared by Ontario’s Ministry of Finance. It was obtained by a citizen’s freedom of information request and being shared across the province.

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No rush, no problem, says OLG

Kingston’s go-slow approach to casino gambling isn’t fazing the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Officials with the provincial regulator say they would accept an offer to brief city councillors and appear at a public meeting in Kingston to explain the new direction for privatized casinos.

“We appreciate there are municipalities that may desire to have more time,” said OLG spokesman Don Pister.

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Council, time to lead

There’s certainly no shortage of opportunity for citizens of Kingston to offer their opinions on whether or not the city should try to land a major casino development. City council has hosted a special public meeting. The city is inviting public opinion via a survey on its website, by telephone, by email and by regular post, and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is being asked to hold its own public meeting to ensure Kingstonians understand the process the city is undergoing. There’s certainly been no shortage of opinion in the letters received by this newspaper.

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Mercantis in talks about casino in core

The Mercanti family is talking to gaming operators about the possibility of opening a casino in downtown Hamilton.

Peter Mercanti, owner and operator of Carmen’s banquet centre and adjoining hotel on the east Mountain, says nothing has been decided about a partnership but the family is open to discussions.

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Casino idea works for TEDC

In May of this year, the mayor and council approved a resolution that laid the foundation for a program that would add a casino to the list of tourist attractions within the City of Timmins.

The Timmins Economic Development Corporation has taken the helm in the pursuit of continued tourist expansion within the city, spearheading the initiative to bring recreational gambling to Timmins.

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Real casino work should start now

Now that the city has definitely cast the die in favour of a casino coming to Belleville, council should not sit back and simply wait for the money to roll in.

It still has work to do. Important work.

Council so far has done the best it can in the face of crazy deadlines from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, including providing an avenue for the public to have its say.

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Council supports gaming in CK… anywhere

Chatham-Kent council has officially stated its willingness to host a slots/gaming facility within the municipality, but at the August 13 council meeting, stopped short of endorsing Dresden as a potential location.

Coun. Doug Sulman introduced the motion in order to meet criteria outlined by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Association (OLG) requesting that municipalities declare their willingness to host a facility by September.

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Community group calls for casino referendum

A community group is circulating an online petition to ask for a referendum on whether a new casino should be built in Ottawa.

In March the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. signalled its intention to solicit bids for new casinos across the province, including Ottawa.

While there are no concrete plans for a new casino in Ottawa, Friends of Downtown Ottawa want to give residents a say before any concrete proposal or venue is decided.

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St.Thomas wants casino

Gambling on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s interest in the municipality, St. Thomas council has directed staff to prepare a letter to the crown corporation letting them know St. Thomas is “open for business” for a casino.

“I’m hoping for support on this because it’s going to be an opportunity to send a very clear and loud message that the city of St. Thomas is open for business,” finance and administration chairwoman Lori Baldwin-Sands said.

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City gambles on OLG

Viva St. Thomas!

Gambling on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s interest in the municipality, St. Thomas council has directed staff to prepare a letter to the crown corporation letting them know St. Thomas is “open for business” for a casino.

“I’m hoping for support on this because it’s going to be an opportunity to send a very clear and loud message that the city of St. Thomas is open for business,” finance and administration chairwoman Lori Baldwin-Sands said.

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Consult residents on casino: Ward 4 rep

The City of Greater Sudbury would welcome a new casino development with open arms, council decided Tuesday.

However, several councillors expressed reservations about what a casino would do to Sudbury Downs and local farmers, and said Sudburians should be consulted before the provincial government moves ahead.

Ward 4 Coun. Evelyn Dutrisac said she was angry at the provincial government for moving revenue opportunities away from rural areas.

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Report recommends $69-million waterfront development

SAULT STE. MARIE – City council will keep holding on to a report that recommends a $69-million public/private development at its waterfront ‘Gateway’ site, as it waits to see what happens with the casino and former St. Marys Paper site.

Jerry Dolcetti, the city’s commissioner of engineering and planning, said in a report to council Monday that the province’s ‘modernization’ plans for OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie, and the redevelopment of the St. Marys Paper site – both of which abut the Gateway site – could mean “endless,” opportunity for mixed land use within the city’s riverfront zone.

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Casino developers, operators lining up

A growing group of potential developers and operators for a proposed Belleville casino are already placing early bets on the project.

The contentious gambling complex has already attracted interest from at least four potential operators with prior history in the casino business and five developers who own property here, city officials say.

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Real casino work should start now

Now that the city has definitely cast the die in favour of a casino coming to Belleville, council should not sit back and simply wait for the money to roll in.

It still has work to do. Important work.

Council so far has done the best it can in the face of crazy deadlines from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, including providing an avenue for the public to have its say.

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Hamilton councillors double down on Flamborough

Councillors have become increasing concerned that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation are will be seeking bids from potential suitors to establish another gaming facility in the city, or even outside the municipality’s borders. Losing the gaming facility could mean the elimination of $4.4 million the city currently receives from the cut in the slot revenues it receives from Flamboro Downs as a host municipality.

“It opens a can of worms,” said Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla. “It’s a political mess. (OLG) is like a bull in a china shop.”

The city uses the $4.4 million slot revenues to reduce property taxes. From 2000-2011, Hamilton has received about $49 million in revenue from Flamboro Downs. The province has not stated if it will compensate municipalities for the loss of the revenue.

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Majority of speakers support casino

All except one councillor voted in favour of staying the course to meet the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporations fall deadline for site proposals.

Council also received positive news from Chief Cory McMullen who suggested feedback from several other chiefs in casino-hosting communities indicate having a casino is “not a drain on police resources.”

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Quinte West council supports casino

Councilors voted 9-3 in favour of a resolution that confirms the city’s willingness to become a host to a potential OLG gaming facility. The only councillors to vote against the motion were Terry Cassidy, Jim Harrison and Bob Wannamaker.

Even with the passing of this resolution, Mayor John Williams made it clear this in no way guarantees Quinte West will be home to a gaming facility.

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City council supports gaming in Woodstock

WOODSTOCK – City council took its first step in retaining its slots facility under the OLG’s new strategic direction.

With the province requesting current OLG host municipalities indicate their continued support in hosting OLG-supervised gaming, that’s exactly what council did Thursday.

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Potential developers express interest in The Kingsway, South End, downtown and Sudbury Downs

Developers have shown interest in building a casino in four locations in Greater Sudbury, city councillors will hear this week.

In a report prepared for the Aug. 14 meeting of city council, staff says they have been in contact with more than a dozen potential suitors for a casino, which will be built somewhere in the city under a plan announced in the spring by the province.

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Numbers appear to favour casino

The numbers are in and a small portion of Belleville has spoken — 64.5 per cent of those who participated in a city wide survey said they are not opposed to The Friendly City welcoming a casino.

Last month, city hall requested the public’s input on the issue via e-mail, phone calls and an electronic form on the city’s website.

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DIA goes all in

Downtown businesses are backing the possibility of a casino in North Bay, specifically in the city’s core.

The Downtown Improvement Area Board of Management came out Wednesday in support a gaming facility in the city, suggesting it would economically benefit businesses.

DIA chairman Bob Alger said the group consulted with other communities and business improvement associations, including those in Orillia, Thunder Bay and Niagara Falls.

He said a majority of board members agreed the positive aspects outweigh the negatives, and if there’s going to be a casino in the city, it should be located in the downtown.als is expected to be issued in the fall.

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Council interested in casino application

Kenora city council is asking for input from the public, after it was chosen as a potential site for a casino. The province has recognized the area as one of 29 zones that could potentially develop a gaming facility. Council has expressed interest in the project, noting the benefits of creating jobs, as well as increasing property tax assessments.

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POLITICS: City won’t rush casino decision

KINGSTON – Mayor Mark Gerretsen says he won’t allow council to be rushed into deciding whether to bring a casino to Kingston and is prepared to tell the province to “back off, you’re pushing too hard.”

Gerretsen said he was impressed with the 45 speakers at a public meeting on Wednesday night – many of whom noted that the decision councillors had to make next month was being rushed by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

“That is an extremely good point and it might put us in a situation where we need more information,” Gerretsen told the Whig-Standard.

“I’m not going to vote in favour of this because I’m being rushed. I would suggest to council that we tell OLG we need more time, back off.”

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Communities rally in bid to save casino

EMC News – “The casino stays here!”

That was the message delivered loud and clear at a Save Our Casino rally held outside the Lou Jeffries Recreation Centre in Gananoque last Thursday, Aug. 2. Close to 200 people attended the event which aimed, in part, to counter growing fear the gaming facility could face a murky future in light of new rules set out by the provincial government earlier this year.

“This is the place for the casino. It was the place they decided it should be and it should stay here,” Gananoque mayor Erika Demchuk announced to the crowd.

Faced with a massive debt and ongoing budget deficit, the province has taken some steps to get its financial house in order. One of those steps is to turn the operation of Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) casinos over to the private sector. This opens the door to the possible establishment of facilities in neighbouring communities “namely Kingston” and resulting shutdown of the Thousand Islands Charity Casino.

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Woodstock city council set for first step in OLG process

WOODSTOCK – Questions about the future of slots have swirled through Woodstock and the rest of the province since OLG announced its new strategic direction back in March.

The topic will enter Woodstock’s council chambers for the first time Thursday.

The province has requested current OLG host municipalities, such as Woodstock, indicate their continued support in hosting gaming supervised by the OLG and committed to socially responsible gaming. Woodstock Mayor Pat Sobeski will ask councillors to continue to support gaming and continue to be a willing host municipality for gaming as it evolves.

Every indication is council will continue to support gaming in the city.

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POLITICS: High stakes in casino race

KINGSTON – Modern casinos are designed to excite their gambling clientele with the banks of winking, seductive slot machines and a friendly atmosphere.

But the announcement by the Ontario and Lottery Gaming Corporation that casino operations will be expanded – and privatized – makes the button-pushing on a two-cent slot machine pale magnificently by comparison.

There’s a whole lot of high-rolling action at stake as casino designers, builders and operators – most of them experienced U.S. companies – vie for a seat at the province’s expanding gaming table.

Consider this: Even before city councillors host a public meeting on Wednesday to gauge the level of interest in bringing a casino here, Kingston’s top development officer has had meetings with what he termed a “medium-sized” gaming company.

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Rolling The Dice

KINGSTON – About this report:

As Kingstonians embark on a public discussion over whether the city wants to host a new casino development, the Whig-Standard’s Paul Schliesmann and Danielle VandenBrink today begin a three-part examination of what this would mean to the city. In the days to come in the Whig and on, they’ll look at what sort of operation might set up shop in the Limestone City, the social issues it might raise, and the economic spinoffs its proponents vow will make it all worthwhile.

Will Kingston city council reverse decades of anti-gambling votes and roll the dice in favour of a casino?

Councillors are about to become immersed in an intense debate on two fronts to determine the economic and social implications of approving what will likely be a privately owned, glitzy, Vegas-style gambling operation.

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Whitby businesses raise the stakes in casino debate

Chamber of Commerce wants council to vote in favour of gaming facility at Aug. 14 meeting

WHITBY — Five million dollars in annual revenue and more than 300 jobs should be welcome additions to any community.

But the Whitby Chamber of Commerce believes Whitby council is gambling with the town’s economic future while sitting on the fence regarding the development of a casino.

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Sherring: Economic benefits to casino

The almighty dollar appears to be the driving force behind Mayor Jim Watson’s interest in Ottawa pursuing a major downtown casino.

“We may have an opportunity to see if we can keep more gaming revenue in Ottawa and Ontario.

“On any given month, literally millions of dollars from Ontario residents is staying in Quebec and that doesn’t help our city, or hospitals or schools. If we have an opportunity to repatriate some of that money, we should have a serious discussion with the province,” Watson said, responding to a resident unhappy with the prospect of a casino.

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Keep casino, crowd demands

GANANOQUE —The message was simple and to the point.

To the Province of Ontario, City of Kingston and potential investors: Leave Casino 1000 Islands in the Thousand Islands.

Close to 400 area residents, casino workers, merchants and emergency personnel joined a who’s-who of the local political scene at a rally Thursday outside the Lou Jeffries Gananoque TLTI Recreation Centre.

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Another casino article

Reading The Intelligencer this week, you would be forgiven if you thought you were reading the Ontario Gambling Daily. From stories about potential developers, to stories from Kingston and Gananoque about the possible move of that casino, to the local war of words erupting among councillors … there hasn’t been this big of a hot-button issue in this town since, well, I can’t remember.

So, why am I writing about it? The answer is simple: too many people seem to have taken leave of their senses, and I can’t take it anymore.

Personally, I couldn’t care less about whether a casino comes to The Friendly City. I travelled to Las Vegas twice last year, and spent a whopping $20 in the Bellagio — and that’s the total for both trips.

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Referendum motion filed by Jenkins

BELLEVILLE – Coun. Jodie Jenkins is moving forward in his bid to have a municipal referendum on the casino issue.

Jenkins issued a press release late Friday stating he filed a motion with Belleville’s city clerk requesting a referendum take place during the next municipal election. Residents, under the motion, would be asked if they support the location of a gaming facility in Belleville.

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Large Turnout At Casino Rally

A large crowd turned out in Gananoque east of Kingston yesterday for a “Save Our Casino” rally.

A rivalry has sprung up between the two communities after Kingston municipal staff started talking about what role a casino could play in their city.

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Ganonoque fearful of losing casino to Kingston

Ganonoque residents say they’ll continue rallying to keep their casino from moving to nearby Kingston.

Hundreds of people from the eastern Ontario town showed up at a demonstration Thursday night, hoping to keep the Thousand Island Casino and its economic spinoff in their community.

“(They may be interested in) Kingston due to the fact that bigger is better, maybe they want their share,” said Leeds and Thousand Islands Mayor Bruce Bryan.

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Toronto casino: a hidden battle for the prize

U.S. gambling giants working hard to win the coveted prize of Toronto are eager to fund non-gambling attractions at Ontario Place if they can operate a casino across the bridge at Exhibition Place.

That scenario — helping the cash-strapped province rebuild Ontario Place, pouring Exhibition lease payments into City of Toronto coffers and creating thousands of jobs — is being floated by some aligned with MGM Resorts.

Rival bidder Caesars Entertainment is also intrigued by the idea of an “integrated resort” straddling Lake Shore Blvd., with clearly marked sides for family and adult fun, but doesn’t want to appear to be pushing a particular GTA location.

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Caesars Windsor Voted Best Area Casino

For the twelfth consecutive year, Caesars Windsor has been voted by gamblers as the best overall gaming resort in the region.

The honour is the result of thousands of votes cast by readers of the gaming magazine Casino Player in the publication’s annual survey, with the local property beating out area competitors MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit Casino and the Greektown Casino.

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Public meeting scheduled for possible North Bay, Ontario casino construction

The City of North Bay, Ontario has scheduled a public meeting August 22 to get residents’ feedback on the possibility of developing a casino in the city.

According to a North Bay city staff report July 25, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) issued a request for information in May to solicit input from the private sector, and North Bay is identified as one of five zones being considered for the establishment of a new gaming facility. The zone, named N5 by OLG, allows for up to 300 slot machines, according to the city staff report.

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Councillor clarifies position on casino

Belleville councillor Pat Culhane has clarified her position on a casino for Belleville, saying she’s in favour unless a convincing case to the contrary is made.

“If somebody wants me to be a ‘yes’ or a ‘no,’ as of today, unless there’s some compelling evidence to the contrary, I’m sticking with my original vote, which was, of course, ‘yes,’” Culhane said Thursday.

“There is no evidence to persuade me to the contrary.”

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The human cost of casinos

BELLEVILLE – Local addictions workers say they won’t oppose Belleville’s efforts to secure a casino, but they want anyone with gambling problems to seek help.

Executive director Cate Sutherland and counsellor Mary Boyce of the Addictions Centre (Hastings/Prince Edward Counties) Inc. are adamant in declaring their neutrality on the issue.

“We take no political stance,” Sutherland said emphatically.

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Economics trump risk: politicians

BELLEVILLE –  For politicians in favour of gambling, the end justifies the means.

Addictions workers and some local opponents of gaming venues cite cases of increased gambling problems after casinos are created.

But as most Belleville council works toward bringing a casino to Belleville, the city’s mayor and all but one councillor are united in one view.

They say the economic benefits of gambling are plentiful; the risks of social and gamblers’ financial ruin are not.

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Rally set in support of casino

GANANOQUE – Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands Mayor Bruce Bryan says the town and township both need to show they are going to put everything they have into saving the casino.

If the casino goes, the repercussions will be tremendous,” said Bryan. “We’re using the money from the casino for capital expenses and towards the villages. The casino is critical for us. This is super serious and will be crushing if we lose this.”

Tonight there will be a Save Our Casino rally beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Lou Jefferies Gananoque TLTI Recreation Centre.

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Public misinformed, says Culhane

BELLEVILLE – Most Belleville councillors want a casino in Belleville, but one says too many residents don’t fully understand the issue.

Mayor Neil Ellis says he wants a casino; so do six of the city’s eight councillors.

Coun. Jodie Jenkins is opposed; Coun. Pat Culhane has yet to decide, saying she’s still gathering information.

The problem, she said, is that more people aren’t doing the same thing.

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Casino mayors to Belleville: “Go for it”

You can talk about politics, research, faith, addictions, morals, crime and scandal.

But in the end, Belleville’s quest for a casino boils down to cash and who’s winning or losing it.

Lots of it.

Critics say there won’t be enough or that it will go to the wrong places or be taken from the wrong people.

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