On Wednesday, Ottawa’s city council was invited to reaffirm its decision that Hard Rock Casino Ottawa is in charge of Rideau Carleton Raceway gambling operations, which was formerly owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). As this is the first discussion on the matter, some councilors did not miss the chance to voice their concerns regarding the possible social harms and ills, which gambling may cause.
Gambling Expansion Already Found Opponents
As part of a provincial regulation, a public consultation and council vote are required before the takeover deal is finalized. That is the reason why the council should re-approve its decision that Hard Rock Casino Ottawa is to assume the control over Rideau Carleton Raceway gambling operations. This gave a good opportunity for some councilors to beat the drum for the possible gambling harms, opposing the expansion of the gambling sector. Councilors Jeff Leiper, Catherine McKenney, Tobi Nussbaum, and Diane Deans explained that it would be a mistake to allow gambling expansion, without having accurate information and a working plan to prevent players from the addictive nature of gambling.
Even though their attempts to discuss the issue met a parry, after Mayor Jim Watson explained that health care is the government’s responsibility, the four opposing councilors argued that Ottawa Public Health should provide detailed information regarding the problem. Consequently, the opposing councilors voted against the further expansion of the gambling industry. They explained that now it is the right time to discuss the question, before it is too late. It is expected that more people will share the stance of the opposition, having in mind that this was only the first vote on the gambling expansion matter.
Brief Look Back at OLG’s Privatization
The privatization of the OLG’s gambling properties was triggered by the considerable decline, which the company faced in the recent years. Its old-fashioned gambling machines and gambling facilities could not compete anymore with the growing online gambling and flashing Las-Vegas styled casinos. Therefore, OLG announced its decision to hand its gambling deeds in the trust of foreign operators, which are expected to modernize the stalemate gambling market.
Many operators participated in the takeover bidding, and Hard Rock Casino is among the winners to take a slice of the pie. Prior to signing the takeover deal, it was announced that Hard Rock Casino considers a major expansion, which is to cost the company around $33 million. Among all other things, the company plans to add 21 more table games, including roulette, blackjack, and baccarat, as well as a number of new slot games.