Wasaga council busy

Busy times ahead for Wasaga Beach council.

Councillors will discuss public comment from the two casino meetings held in the town and from the survey that’s on the town website at a Committee of the Whole meeting next Tuesday evening.

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Worth the risk?

Councillor Joe Gardhouse believes it would be a mistake for Collingwood Council to turn down a casino.

Council will have the opportunity to say yes or no to the casino question on Monday.

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Toronto will benefit if it approves a city casino

If Toronto could extract the right deal from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), revenues from a casino in downtown Toronto could permanently fill Toronto’s structural deficit.

That was the word Monday from Toronto’s City Manager Joe Pennachetti, following the release of his report on the economic impact of a casino on Toronto’s economy. The report will be going to Mayor Rob Ford’s Executive Committee Nov. 5 and from there will likely be public consultations before council finally deals with the question of whether to allow casino gambling – probably in February or March.

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Casino would cure city’s fiscal ills, report says

If Toronto welcomes a new destination casino, the municipal government could win a jackpot big enough to fix its money woes for good, the city’s top bureaucrat says.

City manager Joe Pennachetti’s office released a highly anticipated report Monday that estimated the municipality could reap as much as $195-million per year – on top of a one-time sale or lease of city-owned land – from an integrated resort casino near the waterfront.

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City of Toronto releases reports on new GTA gaming facility

Today, two reports were released by the city of Toronto on the benefits and considerations of an integrated gaming entertainment centre in Toronto.

 “Both the reports prepared by the City Manager’s Office and Ernst & Young confirm that an integrated gaming entertainment centre in Toronto would create thousands of jobs and bring in tens of millions of dollars in revenue,” said Rod Phillips, President & CEO of OLG. “Public consultations are the necessary next step and we’re pleased they have been recommended. OLG has been clear from the outset that we will only go to municipalities that want a facility. So far, 36 other communities across Ontario have expressed interest in either continuing to host, or becoming a new host community’.

You can view Toronto City Manager’s report and the Ernst & Young report on the City of Toronto website.

Casino could earn city $168m a year

City manager Joe Pennachetti says a casino could be the solution to Toronto’s annual budget woes — if it can convince the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to pay the city a premium for hosting a large-scale development downtown.

Signalling that the current revenue-sharing formula the OLG has in place is unacceptable, city staff have drawn up two alternative scenarios for a downtown “integrated entertainment complex” that could pour $106-million to $168-million a year into municipal coffers.

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Taking a gamble

Deal Barrie in for a downtown casino?

City councillors will consider a motion Monday to conduct an online survey about establishing a gaming site, with slot machines and gambling tables, as part of a hotel/ convention/conference centre in the core.

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Gaming sites good for local economies

Re: Keep a casino out of this region — Oct. 24

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. wants to ensure that communities have the information they need to encourage dialogue and make informed decisions, based on facts.

The fact is, a majority of the gaming corporation’s customers are educated, middle to high-income earners who play responsibly. Your editorial repeats an often-cited claim about the customers who play our games. However, this information is based on a very limited study completed close to 10 years ago. In their 2004 study, The Demographic Sources of Ontario Gaming Revenue, Robert Williams and Richard Wood themselves acknowledge the limitations of their findings, saying they are based on a very small sample size of 32 problem gamblers.

We provide a form of entertainment and we want our customers to use an affordable portion of their disposable income to play our games. We do not want problem gamblers to use our products or play in our facilities.

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Business community shows support for casino

Business community members voiced a strong desire to have Wasaga council approve the proposed casino during a public consultation meeting.

Nearly 300 members of the community headed to the RecPlex on Wednesday, Oct. 24 to hear from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming, ask questions, and address council members about the proposed 300-slot machine facility.

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Waterfront Toronto opposed to Port Lands as casino site

Toronto’s Port Lands is no place to put a casino, says Waterfront Toronto, the agency responsible for transforming the sprawling industrial site into a mixed-use community.

The lakeside area at the foot of the Don River is one of a handful of sites frequently mentioned as a possible location for a casino. Mayor Rob Ford has said he favours the Port Lands or Exhibition Place because as a landlord, the city would receive additional revenue.

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The science behind OLG’s gaming zones

As part of its Modernization Plan, OLG identified 29 Gaming Zones where there are existing gaming facilities and where there could be new facilities. These Zones are geographic areas where regulated private-sector providers will be allowed to operate a single gaming facility, subject to approvals.

The Gaming Zones will help ensure that 29 gaming facilities are located in areas of the province that will bring gaming entertainment closer to customers, while ensuring the facilities do not compete directly with each other.

The Gaming Zones are not simply lines on a map, but are the result of a study to determine the best areas for gaming inOntario. OLG looked at characteristics (age, gender, income, etc.) of its customers and OLG Winners’ Circle data and analyzed this information using a gravity model to determine the Gaming Zones.

Originally developed by Dr. David Huff at theUniversityofTexasin the 1970s, the gravity model is a common approach used by retailers throughout the world to determine the optimal placement of stores. The model predicts the probability a customer will visit a particular site given its attractiveness, the travel distance to the site and the distance and attractiveness of competing sites.

The final boundaries of the Gaming Zones may change as a result of local needs or information OLG receives during its procurement process. OLG first introduced the concept of Gaming Zones in a June, 7, 2012 news release. Gaming Zone maps can be found here.

Casino would be a jackpot for Toronto

If negotiated smartly, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti says Toronto taxpayers could reap the benefit of $500-million annually in new revenue for city coffers.

And that’s why Mammoliti, who has been a proponent of this concept for years, said that if he has a say, the new Toronto casino resort would be located on the grounds of the CNE.

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Flamboro slots pay city $1.16m

The city’s coffers are more than $1 million richer, courtesy of a payment from OLG.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation issued close to $1.16 million in nontax gaming revenue to the city Friday for hosting the slots at Flamboro Downs.

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Casino Invite OLG

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation would be happy to come to Sudbury to answer questions from concerned citizens regarding a new casino development.

All it needs is an invitation from the city.

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Town, TLTI working together on casino

Gananoque and the Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands are hoping that by working together with a united front it will help keep the Thousand Islands OLG Charity Casino here.

A joint meeting between both councils from Gananoque and TLTI last week was set to approve an investment profile for potential investors in the casino as it moves from a public to a private corporation.

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Concrete casino proposals expected in January

The city should know by early next year which developers are interested in building a casino in Greater Sudbury.

Ian Wood, the city’s director of economic development, said the latest indication from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is a request for proposals (RFP) should be issued sometime in January. And the RFPs will include detailed proposals of not only who wants to build in Sudbury, but also what they want to build and where.

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Casino debate continues in Hamilton

If the 70 people who turned out for a Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce luncheon is any indication, they wouldn’t mind having a casino in Hamilton.

Mayor Bob Bratina, the keynote speaker at the Oct. 4 event at the Powerhouse Restaurant, conducted an informal vote on whether the city should pursue a casino.

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Councillor: ‘Be fair’ on casino

Councillor Ana Bailao says she hasn’t decided yet whether a casino is a good bet. Bailao was the lone member of the Toronto and East York community council not to give a speech Wednesday slamming a downtown casino

“I’m definitely keeping an open mind on the issue,” Bailao told colleagues toward the end of the five-hour meeting. “I honestly think we need more information on the issue and I truly want this information to help me make my decision because my decision is not made.

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Casino vote passes, but process questioned

Ottawa city council voted in favour of signalling to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation its interest in a casino, but many councillors expressed frustration with OLG and the rules it has established for the process.

OLG may have as many as five groups bidding for a casino in the Ottawa area, but the provincial gaming corporation won’t identify the private operators or the locations being discussed.

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Councillors want to gamble on Ottawa casino

After repeatedly saying that he would prefer to see a new casino in the city’s core, Mayor Jim Watson backed a bid to ask the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission to consider a casino expansion at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway.

On Oct. 2, the finance and economic development committee indicated it supports in principle the idea of looking at bringing a new casino to Ottawa.

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Options narrowed for casino input

City councillors on the brand-new gaming subcommittee have agreed that a combination of phone polls and community forums is the best way to gauge the public’s interest in a casino.

The five members of the subcommittee — Mayor Bob Bratina and councillors Sam Merulla, Terry Whitehead, Rob Pasuta and Judi Partridge — voted Tuesday to pursue both avenues of public engagement.

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Meeting exposes casino divide

Politicians, pundits and members of the public came out swinging at a special community council meeting on casinos Wednesday night.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti called the meeting “illegal” and said the casino debate should be opened to the whole city and not just the Toronto and East York councillors who organized the forum.

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Unions support exploring Toronto casino

When a pro-casino industry group launched a new website Wednesday, its leaders were joined by two surprising bedfellows: The Canadian Auto Workers union and the Service Employees International Union.

The presence of the CAW raised enough eyebrows around city hall that, before the Canadian Gaming Association could hold its 4 p.m. news conference, the CAW’s director of political action sent an e-mail to mollify 16 generally pro-labour councillors.

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Full house for casino battle

The debate over a Toronto casino anted up Wednesday.

Councillors on the Toronto and East York Community Council got a largely anti-casino earful Wednesday night while Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti dismissed the whole meeting as “illegal.”

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Council decides to deal OLG in

Despite many councillors’ very vocal misgivings, city council decided Wednesday afternoon that Ottawa should have a new casino.

The 19-5 vote to tell the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to seek private-sector bids to build a new casino here was closer than the number suggests: many of the votes in favour of the idea came from councillors who warned the city staffers who’ll work with the OLG to treat the provincial agency and its plans with suspicion.

Casino committee gets off on the right foot

It’s careful, it’s measured and it’s not too expensive. The biggest question is whether it’s enough.

The city’s gaming subcommittee’s first decision — about ways to garner community input on the critical casino decision — is a reasonable one. It falls far short of the sweeping nature of a referendum, but it makes it clear our elected officials understand the seriousness of gauging community support for a casino in Hamilton, regardless of where it may or may not end up.

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Quick vote a bad deal

The votes are in and it seems clear Ottawa city council is poised to give the green light for a new casino in the nation’s capital.

Where it will go, what it will look like, and what it will include, well, it seems this council is ready to gamble on all of that.

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OLG doesn’t hold all the cards

Listen to the clash of claims on city council and you won’t come close to understanding what’s really going on in the current casino debate.

Some councillors say that voting for a new gambling facility this week would really give them a chance to get more information. Others act as if the entire issue is already out of their hands.

Electronic games coming

Stafford Bingo Country will be getting a 21st-century facelift some time in early 2013, as the venerable gaming establishment gets set to move to an “e-gaming” model of play.

According to Tom Aikins, regional manager at Boardwalk Gaming and Entertainment, the parent company that also owns bingo halls in Barrie, Penetanguishene and Hawkesbury, the hall was recently bumped up to the first wave of 15 locations across the province to receive the electronic machines from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). This means that as early as January, players can expect to be using computers to take some of the manual labour out of the game, although not entirely.

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Bill’s passage would mean referendums on new casinos

The decision as to whether a casino can be built in Kingston may ultimately be decided by residents if a current bill at Queen’s Park is passed.

Monte McNaughton, the member of provincial parliament for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, tabled a private member’s bill in the spring that would make it necessary for a municipality to hold a referendum before a casino can be built.

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Watson’s casino wager the right call

Despite the ethical hand-wringing that will inevitably accompany the mayor’s announcement last week that Ottawa will entertain any proposals from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to build a casino in the city, it is the right way to move forward on this issue.

Casinos have been a reality in Ontario since 1994, in the capital region since 1996 and there have been slot machines at the Rideau Carleton Raceway since 2000, meaning residents of this city have had plenty of opportunity to gamble for more than a decade. Getting squeamish about gambling at this point is a little naive – gaming arrived in Ontario nearly 20 years ago.

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Revitalized bingo centres to feature electronic versions of popular games

OLG is teaming up with the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association (OCGA) and the Commercial Gaming Association of Ontario (CGAO) to revitalize the charitable bingo and gaming industry in Ontario.

Complementing traditional paper-based bingo and other games, OLG is using modern technology to develop and introduce new products to invigorate the bingo experience and attract new players to charitable bingo centres across thehttp://www.modernolg.ca/olgs-plan/ province.

The new product offerings will include: Electronic Bingo (eBingo), Break Open Ticket Dispensers, Electronic Instants, Rapid Draw Bingo, and Electronic Shutterboard.

Over eight years of operation, this initiative is expected to deliver about $475 million in much-needed funding to Ontario charities, while also helping to sustain hundreds of part-time jobs.

So far, this initiative has been successfully implemented at six bingo centres across Ontario. Together, those centres have raised more than $43 million to support over 500 local charities – which include children’s groups, and environmental and health services organizations.

In July, Boardwalk Gaming Centre Sudbury, one of the six initial bingo centres, was the first to reach the $10 million milestone. The increased ability to draw customers is benefiting the 98 community organizations that fundraise at this facility.

One of those organizations is the Banque d’Aliments Sudbury Food Bank. As a result of its charitable gaming partnership with the Boardwalk Gaming Centre,  Banque d’Aliments Sudbury Food Bank is able to provide over one million items of food annually to individuals and families who need support in the Sudbury area.

OLG recently launched a public awareness campaign including print and radio advertisements, to inform Ontarians about its plans to revitalize the charitable bingo and gaming industry.

For more information about this initiative, visit “How Will Charitable Gambling Change?”.

Kingston casino study lays out strong economic hand, New jobs, more spending

A new study on gambling in Kingston suggests a casino represents a winning hand for the local economy.

The study, commissioned by the city’s economic development agency KEDCO, looked at the potential economic impact if Kingston were to host either a stand-alone or resort style casino. The results may play into the hands of supporters of a casino who say it would give Kingston a welcome boost in tourism, jobs and local spending.

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Casino development clears first hurdle in Kenora

City council has voted to support a casino development in Kenora, so long as it’s a “destination.”

A resolution to continue discussions with the province regarding a casino development passed with a 5-2 vote on Thursday, provided the 300-slot gambling venue is connected to a hotel and conference centre. Council instructed city staff to begin searching for suitable real estate and it intends to begin lobbying the province to determine funding availability to absorb the anticipated social cost.

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Committee supports Ottawa casino

If full council also gives its support, it would allow the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to issue a request for proposals this fall inviting proponents to submit bids.

Once the RFP process is completed and a winning bidder is selected, the public would have the opportunity to provide more feedback at a future city committee meeting in

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Casino: location, location, location

The casino debate has ignited a fire we have not seen in Hamilton since the great Pan Am stadium debacle. Once again the city is split down the middle on a key issue involving not only downtown, but the rest of this city. No wonder. The record shows why Hamiltonians have little confidence in how this city conducts its business.

That seems to be changing of late and we have to give credit where credit is due. There appears to be more synergy than ever between city staff, elected officials and business.

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Economic benefits to gaming: OLG boss

Municipalities are considering their interest in hosting a new OLG gaming facility. Hamilton, which already hosts a gaming facility, is discussing its role in OLG’s modernization plan. OLG wants to ensure communities have the information they need to encourage dialogue and make informed decisions.

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Committee recommends council approve casino

Despite dire warnings against the idea, a city council committee has recommended that Ottawa support in principle the establishment of a new, full-fledged casino in the nation’s capital.

About 200 people packed city council chambers Tuesday night to hear the pros and cons of locating a full-fledged casino in Ottawa, with warnings about increased crime and gambling addiction compete with economic benefits and more revenues for municipal coffers.

Casino conversation continues

Collingwood council has decided to consult the public on whether the town should host a casino.

Councillor Joe Gardhouse put forward a motion with several parts including identifying possible locations in town, holding a public meeting, developing a survey for public comment and then letting OLG know of the town’s intentions by the November 16th deadline

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Ottawa casino draws support, criticism from all sides

Councillors are lining up to support the idea of a casino in Ottawa, even if they aren’t sure they’ll vote for a specific proposal in the end.

Most emphasize that they haven’t made up their minds, because a meeting of city council’s finance committee Tuesday night is supposed to be about consulting the public before a vote. Nevertheless, they all have views they would have to be talked out of.