The mayor's executive committee has paved the way for a casino in downtown Toronto.

The small group of councillors voted on Tuesday 9-4 in favour of allowing a casino to operate in the city.

The four that opposed the idea are Jaye Robinson, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong and Paul  Ainslie. Those who voted in favour of the casino are Mayor Rob Ford, Michael Thompson, David Shiner, Cesar Palacio, Doug Holyday, Norm Kelly, Frank Di Giorgio, Vincent Crisanti and Gary Crawford.

The 13-member executive committee resumed a two-day meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, and decided to endorse the idea of soliciting bids for a downtown casino at around 3:45 p.m.

The matter will now be sent to city council for final approval.

“I am optimistic,” Ford told reporters earlier during the day. “I think people will see the light.”

Ford has suggested that a casino could pump up to $148 million in revenue into city coffers while generating up to 10,000 permanent jobs, but many other councillors have suggested that the social cost may outweigh the gains.

On Tuesday morning, Police Chief Bill Blair appeared before the executive committee and said he has no concerns about increased criminal activity in the area surrounding a potential casino.

“I have spoken with chiefs of police in other jurisdiction and they say there is no organized crime as a result of casinos,” Blair said. “There are social and economic factors where crime happens, things like illegal booze cans, but these are in areas that don't have casinos.”

In response to Blair’s testimony, Coun. Adam Vaughan said that the area surrounding the Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke is considered a priority neighbourhood by Toronto police, hinting that gambling at the site may be having an effect on crime.

But Blair dismissed that idea to reporters.

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