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Eaves: WEG Tracks Are "Logical Sites" For Expanded Gaming


Published: April 5, 2012 9:14 am ET

Last Comment: April 5, 2012 6:44 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

"Our core objective through all of this is discharging our mandate, which is to maximize our financial performance so we can offer the highest-quality horse racing. That’s what we’re about and we need to ensure that these new opportunities can help us deliver on that."

As Finance Minister Dwight Duncan continues to embrace his vision for a casino in Toronto and in other locales across the province, Woodbine Entertainment Group's President and CEO Nick Eaves remains steadfast in his conviction that Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks would be ideal locations for expansion.

"Mohawk and, more broadly, Woodbine are logical sites for expanded gaming,” Eaves said to the Guelph Mercury. “That’s a simple reality in both of their cases given their locations vis-à-vis major metropolitan markets and the scale of their existing gaming operations. They are great platforms, in our view, for the sort of expanded gaming that the OLG has said they intend to pursue under their strategy.”

With that in mind, Eaves told The Mercury that horse racing “remains [WEG's] absolute commitment” while acknowledging it wouldn't be possible to determine if the organization could maintain the current purse structure.

On Wednesday, Duncan described one vision for gaming under the OLG's much-discussed and publicly-panned modernization strategy, a $4-billion "entertainment destination" that could create 4,000 permanent jobs for Toronto.

"These are not the days of Bugsy Siegel,” said Duncan in a Toronto Star story. “These places have some of the finest shopping, restaurants, convention facilities, park spaces, open spaces. Imagine an anchor that could create a golden mile on Toronto’s waterfront. And that’s quite possible.”

While Duncan did admit that other municipalities have been "quite aggressive" in expressing interest, building a casino at a location in Toronto such as the provincially-owned Ontario Place would require approval through a referendum. According to The Star, citizens of the six municipalities that now make up Toronto "overwhelmingly rejected" casinos in 1997. A poll in January 2012 showed that half of 1,560 Toronto residents surveyed were opposed to a Toronto casino and 35 per cent were in favour.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has long supported the idea of a casino at Woodbine Racetrack, considering it the ideal spot for gaming expansion.

"I've always supported casinos for job creation. That's the bottom line," said Ford to Sun News. "It creates good jobs, well paying jobs, so I've always supported the slots up at Woodbine (Racetrack) and I've always said that my first choice would be Woodbine. I'm up to anything. If they want to put (a casino at) Ontario Place or anywhere else, I'm open to the idea. Casinos stimulate our economy. They are going to create jobs and that's a fact."

Councillor Adam Vaughan disagrees with Ford and cites the 1997 referendum as proof Toronto residents don't want a casino.

"People don't like casinos. They still don't like casinos, and rather than waste a bunch of money holding another casino referendum to show that people don't like casinos, let's just acknowledge the fact we have a casino referendum result," Vaughan said.

April 5, 2012 - 6:44 pmFor once I agree with

Norm Brunet SAID...

For once I agree with Duncan,"These are not the days of Bugsy Siegel,” you are very astute Mr Duncan but this is Ontario and not Nevada. The demographic makeup of the Ontario society is much different then Nevada's. Nevada is isolated from competition, the bordering states don't have slots for ONE and TWO, much warmer in Nevada. Does he actually think people will fly into Toronto in January to go to his casino. Third " build it and they will come" might of worked in the 50's in Las Vegas but he is 65 years too late for that one . Everybody's built one by now includung Michigan, New York, Quebec and the are a little late Dwight.

Two recommendations in the Drummond report were why the O L G had 2 head offices, Toronto and Sault-St-Marie and WHY Niagara Falls still had 2 casino's running. They have closed down the slots at Windsor that b.t.w made 41 Million in 2011. Of this date nothings been done to implement these 2 recommendations that affect them. Seems that the O L G can waste taxpayers hard earned money and since they are Gov owned are immune to the Drummond report...

Mr Duncan needs to understand that Ontarion's need jobs in order to go to a casino or buy a case of beer, without jobs casino's will be empty oh wait that's too easy to understand.

April 5, 2012 - 11:58 amduncan why dont you just

rob st denis SAID...

duncan why dont you just leave things alone peoples job are at risk 60.000 to make 5000 new jobs wow you do need help you only think for your self god help the ontario people that are going to be hurt if duncan stays in power time for new election

April 5, 2012 - 10:49 am"On Wednesday, Duncan

anne shunock SAID...

"On Wednesday, Duncan described one vision for gaming under the OLG's much-discussed and publicly-panned modernization strategy, a $4-billion "entertainment destination" that could create 4,000 permanent jobs for Toronto."

Is this the real reason for 60,000+ rural Ontarians losing their order to create 4,000 permanent jobs in Toronto?

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