Political games obstruct Nevada business interest in Canada
A downtown Toronto resort complex that attracted the interest of Nevada’s largest casino operators appeared dead Friday after the city’s mayor canceled a vote scheduled for next week on the multi-billion dollar development.
In a City Hall news conference Thursday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, the key backer of a single hotel-casino complex, said he was halting the planned vote, which many analysts had predicted would go against the gaming development.
Gaming giants MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Inc., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts, Limited, had all expressed interest in building and operating the downtown Toronto integrated resort complex.
The companies all committed development money to the effort and representatives all traveled to Toronto to pitch their ideas and meet with city and province officials.
Caesars Entertainment had proposed a casino and resort development along Front Street. Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Jan Jones said the company’s project would have created more than 10,000 jobs and would have been a catalyst for redeveloping the city’s convention center.
It's looking optimistic, but cast of characters stand in way of hometown billions
Toronto’s my adopted hometown. I’ve lived here off and on since I came to the University of Toronto for law school in 1993. Toronto has a lot going for it: great restaurants for a city of its size, wonderful family activities and amenities available, and mostly a clean and highly liveable place. It also has horrible traffic and transit and decaying infrastructure. It’s not Chicago or New York City, which really bothers Canadians in general and Torontonians in particular, but all in all, it’s a wonderful place to live.
One thing that Toronto doesn’t have is a casino. We have Woodbine Racetrack out in Etobicoke, which has some slots, we have gaming during the CNE in late summer, and we have a thriving underground poker scene. The casinos in Niagara Falls and Rama aren’t too far. Internet gaming is everywhere, and heavily advertised. But Toronto doesn’t have a full-fledged resort casino like those in Vegas, or even like the casion property in Montreal.
I think odds are good that that will soon change. It’s by no means a certainty, but the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG — the provincial lottery monopoly) wants to develop a casino in downtown Toronto. This is a creating a big and growing debate here. In spite of the attention being generated by the ‘no’ side, I don’t think that Toronto will pass on the economic benefits that a casino property in the city stands to generate, nor do I think that it should pass on it.