Report: OLG, Ottawa Discussed Casino Process At Length Out Of Public Eye

Published: January 21, 2013 11:27 am EST

According to a report by the Ottawa Citizen, facts released to the publication via access-to-information legislation shows that there was much correspondence between the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. and the City of Ottawa while crucial City Council votes were taking place on whether or not Ottawa would deem itself a willing host municipality for downtown casino expansion under the OLG's controversial gaming modernization plan.

The Ottawa Citizen report states that Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson's chief of staff, Serge Arpin, was in contact with OLG Community and Municipal Relations Manager Giacomo 'Jake' Pastore and allowed him to be privy to the contents of key documents before they were made available to City Council.

The Ottawa Citizen report states that the access-to-information process into the situation has unveiled evidence that the mayor's office worked very closely with the OLG in co-ordinating its 'sales job' for the green-lighting of gaming expansion while leading up to a pivotal October 2012 vote by the City of Ottawa's financial committee.

The report also states that Arpin and Pastore had been in contact with each other about resolutions and motions that were presented (or, in the case of Ottawa, going to be presented) in regard to municipal positions on raceway slots.

The report also states that Mayor Watson and OLG Chairman Paul Godfrey spoke on the telephone a day before Ottawa City Council signed off on declaring the City of Ottawa a host municipality for downtown casino expansion.

The Ottawa Citizen report concludes by stating that Godfrey is also the chief executive of Postmedia Network Inc., which owns the Citizen.

(With files from the Ottawa Citizen)



I sent several emails to Mayor Watson in the weeks preceding the October council meeting. I questioned why this decision was being made so quickly and without sufficient opportunity for public input. His standard reply insisted that this initial "yes" vote in no way insinuated consent to a downtown casino, a purposeful misconstruing of the facts. I persisted in pointing out the facts surrounding the RFI and RFP process, but was ignored. Thank you to the Ottawa Citizen reporter for using the FOI act to pursue the facts surrounding this decision. I acused Mayor Watson of playing partisan politics back in the Fall and this is obviously exactly what is going on, typical Liberal tactics. I will be pressing my city friends to contact their councillors demanding this issue be revisited.

As the OLG's process to implement their new Gaming Strategy goes forward, the corruption and conflict of interest just becomes more blatantly obvious ... and yet we've heard nothing from Ontario's Ombudsman or the Ontario Auditor General.

Makes you wonder whether they too have been influenced by the usual suspects.(?)

It is obvious that is no limit to the depth Paul Godfrey won't sink in his attempt to kill horseracing in Ontario. The Racino format is the most successful gambling operation in North America, the SAR program was a cash cow for both the OLG and government. The highly profitable slots at both Windsor and Fort Erie are now rusting in storage, and the OLG's hope the patrons would go to the Casinos hasn't materialised. Maybe Godfrey and Phillips should show the public the books and how revenues have fallen.

With this information being released, I wonder if anyone on Ottawa's City Council will bring a motion forward to strike down and revisit the issue of Ottawa being a host municipality for casino expansion? I also wonder if Hamilton and/or Toronto senior elected officials have been 'spoken to'??

Brian, you are absolutely correct, this is one major no no, A Huge Conflict of Interest. I personally do not know the mayor of Ottawa but I can assure you that my impression is not good.

Talk about a knife in the back....Your picture of Mr. Godfrey wearing a horseshoe ring might be the final insult.

I know what my sign will have on it when I visit the Liberal leadership convention on Friday.

"Godfrey must go"!

Mike Stoikopoulos

Surely nobody is surprised by this kind of 'games playing'? Politics 101 - follow the money.

What a COMPLETE disregard for open door policy. Worse than that what a HUGE CONFLICT of Interest. This man has absolutely no regards for anything BUT himself and his Hidden Agenda.He should be ashamed and embarassed for what he is doing to the Industry that carried the Ontario Gov. for so many years.
It obviously looks like he is doing this out of self-interest and could care less who he injures or destroys. He MUST be stopped. An investigation is necessary before any more harm is done!!!!

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