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Gaming News Across Southern Ontario

Published: December 13, 2012 1:46 pm ET

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From Hamilton to Pickering and further on over to Belleville, more news items spurred by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.'s controversial gaming modernization plan have hit the mainstream media this week.

A pair of reports out of Hamilton, one by the CBC and the other by the Hamilton Spectator, have explained that the OLG's gaming modernization plans has people in Steeltown up in arms.

The CBC report states that a group of downtown Hamilton business owners have come together and are collectively letting Hamilton City Council hear about their displeasure regarding the idea of introducing a full-blown casino to the city's core.

According to the article, the group has stated in a letter to council that the economic benefits to businesses in close proximity to a casino are virtually none. The group has cited the Brantford casino in its example. The letter states, 'The demolition of 41 vacant buildings in 2010 on Colbourne Street, directly across the road from the OLG Brantford Casino, would seem to confirm that.'

The CBC report quotes James Street North's Mixed Media owner Dave Kuruc as saying, “I haven’t found anyone on James Street (in Hamilton) who has been in support of it (casino expansion) yet,” adding that "a casino will do harm to my business for sure.”

The Hamilton Spectator has reported that 'dozens' of Hamilton residents are protesting a city council subcommittee meeting today regarding the casino expansion.

The article also states that a revised timeline for public forums in regard to the lightning-rod issue will be discussed during the meeting.

Moving across to the easterly suburbs of the Mega City, it has been reported by that a vote taken in Pickering Council this week has resulted in Pickering declaring itself as a willing host municipality for the introduction of gambling under the OLG gaming modernization plan.

The report --- which is an editorial, actually --- explains that the move was successful at a vote of 4-3. The motion had been put forward by Councillor David Pickles. The editorial explains that Pickering has taken many positions on the matter up to this point. It states: 'The city first said it would not host a casino; then said while still unwilling to have the facility in the city, the city should share in the revenue from a local casino.'

Moving further east, this time over to Belleville, it has been reported by The Belleville Intelligencer that Belleville Agricultural Society President Marilynne Cotten has asked council to consider rezoning the fairgrounds so it can potentially incorporate casino gaming under OLG modernization.

The report also states that Western Fair District chief executive Hugh Mitchell told Cotten that Belleville's fairgrounds would be an "ideal location" for a casino.

The Belleville Intelligencer article has cited Mayor Neil Ellis as saying that the current location of the fairgrounds could be better used, and asked Cotten if there has been any discussion in regard to relocating it.

(With files from CBC, the Hamilton Spectator, and The Belleville Intelligencer)

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