Communities Line Up For Casinos

Plans to expand casino gambling is on track with communities across the province lining up to host a new casino, says the head of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. “In general there has been a very favourable response,” OLG president and chief executive Rod Phillips said in an interview. “This is not to say there are not public meetings and discussion, and any time you’re talking about gaming you’re going to have both sides of the argument.” OLG has divided the province into 29 gaming zones, only five of which have not previously had an OLG facility. There is no requirement for a referendum in those five zones. Regulation 81/12 under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Act, 1999, requires only that the municipal council pass a resolution that shows support and demonstrates that it sought public input before the resolution. “Nobody has to have a referendum because there is no requirement for a referendum,” Phillips said. “Every time you have this conversation it is an emotional issue, and there is going to be both sides of these conversations.” So far 32 communities have indicated support for a casino, either by hosting a gaming facility in the past or by passing a fresh resolution. More communities are expected to follow suit. Toronto is still a question mark but the process is moving forward with a report scheduled to go to the City of Toronto’s executive committee in November. “They will begin that discussion and council will decide what they want to do and if it makes sense for them,” Phillips said. “It is clear a downtown facility in Canada’s largest city, and in one of North America’s largest city, would be a great entertainment offering and could be a great value creator for the city, the province and the citizens of Toronto.” However, the zone that includes Toronto also includes Mississauga, Richmond Hill and Markham, and Vaughan is seeking to be included in the Toronto zone. So it seems all but certain a new casino will located somewhere in the Greater Toronto Area. The OLG is still working through the Request for Information process that was issued earlier this year. A Request For Qualifications process will be launched later this year followed by a Request for Proposals sometime next year. That process will lead to the selection of the operators within a particular zone. Here is a list of municipalities that are clearly in support of hosting a casino as of Sept 14, 2012: Support from existing host municipalities (20 that already benefit from the slot revenue) 1.    Ajax 2.    Brantford 3.    Cavan-Monaghan (Kawartha) 4.    Central Huron (Clinton) 5.    Centre-Wellington (Grand River) 6.    Chatham-Kent (Dresden) 7.    Gananoque (Thousand Islands) 8.    Leeds and the Thousand Islands 9.    Hamilton (Flamboro) 10.    Hanover 11.    Innisfil (Georgian) 12.    London (Western Fair) 13.    Milton (Mohawk) 14.    Ottawa (Rideau) 15.    Point Edward 16.    Sault Ste. Marie 17.    Sudbury 18.    Thunder Bay 19.    Toronto (Woodbine) 20.    Woodstock Support from other municipalities identified in a zone: 21.    Whitby 22.    Halton Hills 23.    Woolwich 24.    St. Thomas 25.    Belleville 26.    Quinte West 27.    Clarence-Rockland Support from municipalities not identified in a zone but seeking to be included: 28.    Town of Midland 29.    Elliot Lake 30.    Timmins 31.    South Stormont 32.    Cornwall The list includes all communities with an existing OLG facility plus some that don’t yet have one and some that want one but are not in a zone. The 29 zones cover more than one municipality so the number of communities eligible to host a casino is higher than 29 and will grow over time. Not included on this list are Niagara Falls and Windsor as those sites are not part of the RFP process because the OLG has already has multi-year contracts with the operators of the casinos there.