OLG entices Toronto with promise of casino revenue

by | Mar 15, 2013 | News

By Sara Miller

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is offering Toronto a large portion of gambling revenue from a potential downtown casino location, if it is built.

Las Vegas-based developer MGM and Toronto-based developer Cadillac Fairview said in a press release on March 5 that the creation of a casino would generate 10,000 permanent jobs, an exponential growth in city tourism, and millions in revenue.

OLG announced in January that Toronto could get a larger hosting fee because it would bring more revenue than smaller cities.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, OLG Chief Executive Rod Philips  said, ““This is due to the broader economic benefits from that kind of private investment.”

But not everyone agrees.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati told Humber News he feels Niagara will get the short-end of the stick when if Toronto gets a bigger piece of casino revenue.

“Niagara Falls receives $3 million in hosting fees for it two casinos. The Toronto casino is set to make over $100 million,” Diodati said.

“Niagara Falls has had casinos since the 90s, it doesn’t seem fair that the OLG is offering more money for the Toronto casino.”

Diodati said he was surprised by the OLG’s offer.

“It’s like they took us to the dance and left us to dance with some one else,” he said.

Toronto Ward 10 Councillor James Pasternak told Humber News Friday that he is opposed to the creation of a casino due to the cost of city service fees.

“There would not be a lot left of the hosting fees due to the large costs of the city services fees of the casino,” he said.

“You have to think of the costs of 24/7 police services, transportation services and other social service fees it costs to run a casino.”

Dennis Hassell, a freelance scriptwriter from South Etobicoke, made his statement known, dressing up and protesting as the Star Wars villain Darth Vader at a meeting at the Etobicoke Olympium Gymnasium Jan. 14.

“Than I started to read up [on] the amount of lobbyists, the amount of money involved, the way the OLG, which isn’t just an agency, it’s a government, act more like a cartel than an agency that serves the public interest,” said Hassell to Humber News on Jan 25.

The OLG said it is interested in creating five more casinos across the province, with 39 municipalities taking interest.