Wynne warns OLG against special deal for Toronto casino
Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013 1:39PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 20, 2013 2:47PM EDT
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation executives met with Premier Kathleen Wynne behind closed doors on Wednesday and were warned against giving Toronto special treatment when it comes to hosting fees for a potential casino.
OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti told CP24 that Wynne asked the OLG to ensure it is using a “consistent formula” in determining the hosting fees for potential casinos during the meeting.
In response, the executives on hand agreed to take a second look at their formula, Bitonti said.
Last week OLG CEO Rod Phillips told CP24 that Toronto would receive between $50- and $100-million annually for playing host to a casino due to the size of the facility the city could support.
That number would be about double the revenues that other Ontario cities interested in hosting a casino would receive, Phillips said at the time.
“I have been in the public sector for many, many years and I wouldn’t call it a dressing down,” OLG Chair Paul Godfrey told reporters following the meeting Wednesday. “I have been dressed down by premiers before and this wasn’t a dressing down, I assure you.”
The OLG is interested in building five new casinos across the province and so far 39 municipalities have shown interest in hosting one.
Toronto city council is expected to vote this spring on whether they will add their names to the list.
“This is what we expected. This is what casinos do. They show you the big number, they show you the jackpot but really what they are trying to do is take money from you and this number will keep falling,” Coun. Mike Layton said after hearing news of the meeting between Wynne and OLG executives Wednesday. “The fact is that the cities of Niagara Falls and of Windsor collect only $3 million for hosting casinos under the existing formula. That’s barely enough to cover the traffic cops that are needed to get the people in and out.”
Mayor Rob Ford has supported the idea of a casino in the past, saying it could be a way to raise revenue without hiking taxes.
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