Toronto Casino Debate Is Back

Three years after Toronto councilors rejected casino within the city of Toronto, the idea to restore the dead gambling hub is back again on the debating table. Toronto councilors apparently killed the efforts to construct a downtown casino in 2013 citing gambling problems in Ontario as the basis of their decision.


History of Casino Rejections in Toronto

According to pundits within the Toronto leadership and history circles, the proposals for casinos in Toronto backdate to 1980. Gambling at this time in Toronto was unheard of. Marked by a history of deep-seated puritanism, people believed that gambling was one among satanic works that affected the community’s moral standards. Most people, young and old, would shun away from any gambling activity during this time.

The rejection in 2013 was one of the many proposals that had been tabled since the 1980. In 1980, the Toronto City Council rejected a proposal to build a casino fearing a slippery slope that would lead to the onset of horrors associated with gambling.

However, the council left the door open for future submissions. Another application was tabled in 1980 but was rejected on the grounds that it lacked clear explanation on how it will benefit the community. Another application was subsequently made in 1984. This time, the people spearheading the proposal made some changes to include how the casino will be used to promote charity works in Toronto. The application also reflected a research done that showed that casino appeal to singles, couples and families, which meant that it offered something that suits everybody’s interests. Unfortunately, the proposal was once again rejected. Other emerging proposasls including the $1 billion Las Vegas’ Mirage Resort were rejected by the council. Since then, people have declared the possibility of having a casino in Toronto a dream.

The New Proposal

Another proposal is looming three years after the last one was rejected by the council. Another heated debate is about to begin in the council with much anticipation from the public. The proposal has been revived by the mayor John Tory supported by Councillor Joe Cressy. According to Tory, the new plan will feature a park near the rail corridor adjacent to Bathurst and Blue Jays Way. Oxford Properties is one of the parties lobbying for the fair share the space. Oxford’s proposal features a plan to build the casino at the center of downtown, which will involve rebuilding the Metro Toronto Convention Center. The Oxford’s project is expected to cost about $3 billion. The casino will take up about 10% of the whole project. Other projects include a hotel complex, convention center, underground parking spaces and residential houses located at the heart of the city’s transport network.

Another key party to the new proposal is Ceasers Entertainment who is appealing for support from creditors to grow its financial power in readiness for a casino project. Though the company is on the brink of losing its number one spot on the list of best casino operators in the country, investors are hopeful that it will have a share in Toronto. The company’s plan will cost its investors around $2 billion.

What Could Be the Possible Benefits of a Casino in Toronto?

With the current streams of rejections of casino proposals in Toronto, people may be wondering whether casinos have any value. Let’s take the casino proposal that was shot down by the council in 2013 as an example. According to the developers of the project, the presence of the casino could have drawn thousands of tourists in the area. The supporters of the project also argued that the casino plan could have created invaluable benefits to Toronto community including $150 million in annual revenue. The rate of employment in the gaming industry was also expected to increase by a broad margin. The Ontario gaming industry currently provides at least 85,000. This figure was supposed to increase by 1,000 if the proposal was allowed in Toronto. Mayor Rob Ford claimed that the idea could have been a cash cow for the region.

What is the public saying about a casino in Toronto?

A lot of resources have been channeled by both parties towards enticing the residents of Toronto into supporting the projects. The City Council of Toronto recently directed its staff to collect information from the grassroots about the project so that it can make a comprehensive feedback and informed decision about the proposal. However, many residents have shown their disapproval of the project once again. This is an early sign that passing the proposal might be an uphill task for mayor Tony and other councilors who are supporting the project.

What are the Possible Prospects?

Now that a new casino idea has cropped up, many residents in Toronto are wondering whether it will be shot down once again by the Councillors. There are a lot of wild predictions out there. First, the structure of the council is the same one that served the 210-2014 term. Many people are of the same opinion that the mayor’s principle have not changed. With the larger part of the public against the idea, the likely outcome is probably going to be the same one witnessed in 2013. We could see the proposal failing narrowly with the collapsed Woodbine project passing.

The Bottom Line

For some reasons unknown to many, the people of Toronto are not keen on the benefits of casinos. This situation is not going to change soon unless someone finds an alternative to counteract or reverse the popularity of the forces behind the consistent slumping of the proposals and possibly break the time loop. Right now, we will be forced to witness more of these debates characterized with similar outcomes in future. As far as gambling in Toronto is concerned , people are going to wait longer.

Written by: Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson has been reporting for for more than 8 years. He studied journalism at UGC and has published two books on how journalism influences the world.

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