Public Upset, Angry At OLG Info Session

Published: September 17, 2012 11:51 am EDT

Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua was looking to get community feedback regarding the possibility of introducing a full-blown casino to the area during a public OLG information session last Thursday night (September 13). According to a report, members of the community that were in attendance were more than unimpressed with what the OLG and Pollara were selling.

An article by has explained that statements made to those in attendance by Pollara Executive Director Robert Hutton elicited shouting and anger from community attendees. After that point, the environment in the information session was described as 'out of control' and some in attendance were described as 'overtaken with emotion.'

Pollara, a market research firm, has conducted an online poll of local residents asking whether or not they would be in favour of having a casino in Vaughan. Pollara's numbers state that 55 per cent of respondents would be in favour of the casino, while 34 per cent of respondents would not be.

"You did your survey, but I don't think what it shows is what the community thinks," a vocal opponent, Franca Stirpa, was quoted as passionately telling the members of the OLG and Pollara that were in attendance.

The report also states that questions regarding how much of the casino's revenues the community would receive 'went largely unanswered.'

"Why don't you do a survey right here and now," an angry Stirpa was quoted as saying, in regard to whether or not residents want a casino. "I think you'd find that people are overwhelmingly against a casino in Vaughan."

Prior to the meeting, Mayor Bevilacqua had told 680News the purpose of the meeting was "to get their (the public's) feedback, to get their input, and to see if in fact we as a city want to go down the road of having [casino gaming in the local area]."

(With files from

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are the racetracks going to improve the product should things change? I do not see many people talking about this.

Seems like they are trying to close the barn door after the horses have gotten out. They had an opportunity to voice their opinions in the recent by-election. The public elected the liberal candidate. What did they expect would happen?

someone should do a poll on how many people have stopped or reduced their Slots and Casino visits, since the Government and Godfrey Tannenbaum pulled this stunt.

Pollara is the official polling firm for the Liberal Party of Canada. I would be very dubious of any poll done by an agency with close ties to a political party, especially one trying to sell a controversial agenda.There needs to be much more objectivity for a polling result to have any validity. This attempt at manipulation is just not acceptable in any way.

Everyone of us need to make sure we attend these 'public information'sessions in our cities when the OLG is there telling their lies.Horsemen take note of when and where these meetings are being held and call all your friends and relatives to go with you and clearly state how wrong it is to shut down the tracks in favour of 'glitzy' casinos.The time for action is NOW!!

It seems that the OLG's great Gaming Strategy is beginning to unravel as more and more cities express negative sentiment about having privately operated Casinos in downtown locations - (Vaughan and Kingston are the latest)

The approach being taken by the Liberals and OLG is frankly disgusting.
It seems to me that they are attempting to pressure or coerce cities into going along with their new gaming strategy. Several of the designated locations already have Horse Race tracks or there is a track not far away.
And so it's a double whammy ... they are taking away their slots revenue and then building a magor Casino close by to compete for the wagering dollars available. Most tracks have no chance of survival.

Its a sad day for Ontario (and indeed Canada) when we allow our elected Government to specifically target an industry for destruction.

The Liberals and the OLG are starting to get some serious pushback- they may get their wish to kill the horse industry, but they are not going to get all the casinos they hoped for.. or that Godfrey & Tannenbaum hoped for. This push back may cause some of the interested parties to back out of investing in gambling in Ontario, with some of the instigators having to pay large for not coming through.