Toronto Casino Talk Heating Up
Published: April 17, 2012 3:55 pm ET
Last Comment: April 18, 2012 6:28 pm ET | 15 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
Since the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. stated its interest in opening a full fledged casino in Canada's largest city, investors and the horse-racing industry continue to tout their value to Ontario's government.
An article by The Globe and Mail has explained that MGM Resorts International, the company behind The Mirage Bellagio, Luxor and the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas, has begun to lobby the Ontario Government to erect a casino in Toronto.
The report has quoted the company's senior vice-president, Alan Feldman, as saying that his company is not interested in a small project, and that it would "be prepared to invest an awful lot in the development of the concept.”
On Friday, April 13, Etobicoke Councillor Vince Crisanti was cited in a story by the Toronto Sun as saying that he supports the idea of expanded casino gaming at Woodbine Racetrack.
The Toronto Sun article cites Crisanti as conveying to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford via letter that Woodbine is a good location for expanded gaming in the GTA, and that his office "has received no complaints from residents regarding this site.”
The most recent announcement regarding expanded gaming has come from Woodbine's operator, the Woodbine Entertainment Group, which on Tuesday, April 17 announced via release that it recently commissioned a poll which has indicated public support for expanded gaming at the facility.
The telephone survey --- which was conducted by Environics Research Group between February 16 and 22, 2012 --- polled 500 City of Toronto residents aged 18 years and older. The survey asked the question: 'The media have suggested Ontario Place/Canadian National Exhibition as possible locations for a Toronto casino. Do you support the idea of a casino at...Ontario Place...Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)? Do you support the idea of a casino at Woodbine Racetrack?'
The poll results found that 51 per cent of Torontonians surveyed support the idea of a casino at Woodbine. (The margin of error for a sample of 500 is plus or minus 4.4, 19 times out of 20. The sample was weighted to reflect the actual population.)
According to the WEG release, the survey indicated that there is considerably more support for a casino at Woodbine than at other locations. The survey found that there is particular support for expansion (60 per cent) within Woodbine's local neighbourhood of Etobicoke.
In contrast, the survey found that the majority of Torontonians opposed a casino in the downtown area --- 62 per cent of Torontonians opposed a casino at Ontario Place (only 34 per cent are supportive) and 59 per cent opposed a casino at the Canadian National Exhibition (only 37 per cent are supportive).
"We were not surprised with the results indicating Woodbine as the preferred location for a Toronto casino, particularly by residents of Etobicoke, given our social, economic and safety record in the community," WEG President and CEO Nick Eaves said via release. "Woodbine Entertainment Group is recognized provincially, nationally and internationally as a premier racing operator. Our successful partnership with the OLG has made Woodbine the most profitable gaming site in Ontario, so expansion to a casino site would be both logical and easily facilitated."
(With files from The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun and WEG)