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More On Ottawa Casino News

Published: June 4, 2013 4:27 pm ET

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It has been reported that on Tuesday, June 4, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson officially gave notice of his intention to table a motion for the city to endorse Rideau Carleton Raceway as the only location in the municipality for casino expansion.

News of Mayor Watson's official notice has come via a report by the Ottawa Business Journal.

A report by the Ottawa Citizen has cited Mayor Watson as saying that he had been working on a side deal with now-former Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Chair Paul Godfrey for there to be expanded gaming at Rideau Carleton Raceway. The report states that the 'understanding' had 'collapsed' with Godfrey's firing. With that being the case, Mayor Watson has been cited as saying that if Ottawa is just going to have one casino, it should be at the raceway.

In a video report by the CBC, which appears below, Mayor Watson said, "We had asked the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to consider Rideau Carleton Raceway as a 'satellite,' because in many ways it is a different clientele and audience that would go to Rideau Carleton versus a downtown location. And we got word back that wasn't going to be entertained, so, to avoid risking losing Rideau Carleton altogether, I felt it important to let Council know, and the public know, that we are proposing to keep Rideau Carleton as the gaming facility, allow that to expand, and make sure that we protect not only the revenue that comes from that, but the jobs as well.

Doug Thompson, who is the City Councillor for Rideau Carleton's area, has gone on the record as saying that the move is "just fabulous news."

"There are 400 acres that they can develop, that will develop if a new casino is here, and it is going to be an entertainment area for the whole city," Councillor Thompson said.

Mayor Watson tabled the motion in front of the Finance and Economic Development Committee, where it will be debated. The decision is expected to be brought forward to Councillors in July.

Mayor Watson's new position on the casino expansion issue was made clear to City Councillors on Monday, June 3 via letter.

(With files from the CBC, the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Citizen)

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