TORONTO – Toronto may not reap the same reward for hosting a casino within city limits as previously suggested after the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has confirmed it will be reviewing the profit-sharing formula for casinos in Ontario.
Premier Kathleen Wynne asked OLG Chair Paul Godfrey on Wednesday to come up with a profit-sharing formula that is fair for all municipalities in Ontario – meaning Toronto could see less than had previously been suggested.
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“The Premier indicated her desire to have the same formula for all the municipalities. We agreed that we would review the policy of the formula at this point in time and get back to the Premier in due course,” Godfrey said.
Previous estimates have pegged up to $200 million moving to Toronto’s public coffers if the city hosts a casino.
The OLG had previously signalled that the city of Toronto would receive more money than other municipalities if it hosted a casino.
However after Wednesday’s meeting with the Premier, the city of Toronto could receive the same deal as other municipalities – which according to a report in The Globe & Mail – would be approximately $20 million.
Councillor Adam Vaughan – a vocal opponent of any casino within Toronto’s city limits – said the new, lower dollar figure could be the death knell for a casino in Toronto.
“Anybody that is hoping for a payout of anywhere above $20 million is dreaming in technicolour,” Vaughan said. “I can’t see people destroying the city for a few million dollars.”
The OLG would be forced to “up the ante” for other municipalities as well if Toronto were to receive $100 million, which Vaughan said, the province is unlikely to allow.
“Most of the soft support for a casino is predicated on $100 million,” Vaughan said. “To get to $100 million you have to up the ante in Windsor and in Ottawa, in Ajax and in Barrie and the province knows that you can’t do that.”
Mayor Rob Ford – who had previously suggested the city could receive up to $200 million in hosting fees – said Wednesday that Toronto is the biggest city in Ontario and should receive a special deal.
“We’re the biggest city. I think we should [receive a special deal],” Ford said. “You can’t compare us to the second largest city which is Ottawa. We’re like three times the size. Might even be four.”
“To say that we’re the same as Ottawa or Hamilton is ridiculous,” Ford said.
Ford was unwilling to say whether he would support a casino with hosting fees based on a new formula