Although incoming Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne has gone on the record as saying otherwise, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. representatives continue to state that the province's gaming arm will not respect municipalities' specific wishes regarding the ultimate locations of incoming casinos.
The most recent example of the OLG's continued stance came Tuesday, January 29 during a scheduled meeting with Sudbury City Council.
According to a report on northernlife.ca, Councillor Claude Berthiaume 'made a pitch' to have Sudbury Downs as the location for Sudbury's casino expansion. The piece states that Berthiaume referenced the fact that there is a lot of room to grow at the raceway and that the facility is 'building-ready.'
In response to Berthiaume, the article states that 'OLG staff replied the private-sector operator will decide where to build, based on the best business case.'
The casino expansion location issue has become a hot-button issue in the City of Hamilton. City Council has stated that it is backing the rural Flamboro Downs site as the place it wants to see expanded to accommodate casino gaming. The OLG is pushing for a fully-integrated casino complex to be erected in Hamilton's downtown core.
Prior to her winning the recent Ontario Leadership race, Wynne went on the record as saying that, “Once I get there (become leader of the Ontario Liberal Party), we need to pick up this conversation," adding, "I want communities to be able to make this decision (location of casino expansion) in the way that they want to make it.”
According to the report, Wynne said she would “absolutely” back Hamilton if the decision was made to locate a casino at Flamboro Downs.
“Hamilton made that decision,” said Wynne. “That’s what I’m saying. The OLG would have to live with that.”
While on the campaign trail last week, Wynne said she would review the OLG's controversial gaming modernization plan and would consider pressing the pause button on the process.
(With files from northernlife.ca and the Hamilton Spectator)