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Report: Expand Woodbine Gaming

Published: April 8, 2013 3:51 pm ET

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On Monday, April 8, the eagerly anticipated staff report from the City of Toronto regarding potential casino expansion was released to the public. The report contains analysis and discussion regarding a potential downtown casino and/or gaming expansion at Woodbine Racetrack.

Under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.'s gaming modernization plan, a casino will be located within the 'C1' gaming zone, which includes downtown Toronto and sections of Markham, Mississauga, Richmond Hill and Vaughan). Woodbine Racetrack is within the 'C2' gaming zone, which includes sections of Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto and York Region (To view the gaming zones, click here).

The City of Toronto report recommends that City Council consent to the expansion of the existing slots facility at Woodbine Racetrack to include live dealer gaming tables, supporting Council-approved plans for the area as an urban entertainment and retail destination. The report also states that the OLG has indicated interest in maintaining the Woodbine slot facility with the possible introduction of table games and limited amenities subject to market demand.

The City of Toronto report does introduce the idea that 'the larger the size of a new C1 casino, the less potential there may be to expand the existing C2 gaming facility due to the proximity of the C1 and C2 zones.' The report states: 'Based on OLG comments regarding its preference for no immediate expansion at Woodbine, the larger the size of a new C1 facility, the less likely an expansion in C2 will be pursued due to the proximity of the C1 and C2 gaming zones.'

The report contains a set of economic impacts which have been provided for an incremental expansion of the current gaming facility at Woodbine. The report states that projections are based on approximately 80,000 square feet of additional gaming floor and 450,000 square feet of food, beverage, retail space, 170,000 square feet of meeting space, and an 800-room hotel. Expansion of the gaming facility and construction of additional amenities at Woodbine at a cost of about $1.3 billion is expected to generate approximately 4,000 full-time equivalent jobs and a $995 million increase in GDP related to construction over a three-year period and 1,600 (net) operations FTE jobs and a $155 million annual increase in GDP related to operations.

The report also states that the Woodbine Entertainment Group has advised that an interim internal expansion to the slot operation could accommodate up to 3,500 slot machines and/or electronic table games and 100 live dealer table games, through a reallocation of space within the grandstand with an existing parking supply that exceeds the current by-law requirements and preliminary approach for addressing parking for casino uses. WEG further advised that a westward addition to the existing grandstand of 125,000 square feet could physically accommodate an additional 1,500 slot machines, 50 table games and associated back of house functions, bringing the total up to 5,000 slot machines and 150 table games. This addition would also accommodate 350 hotel rooms and an expansion to meeting and exhibition space. Future phases would include building out the entertainment and retail vision for the site, including 450 additional hotel rooms, 170,000 square feet of additional convention or new entertainment uses and 450,000 square feet of retail/entertainment uses.

To view the report, click here or view the embedded PDF below.

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