Pickering’s Mayor Dave Ryan is on board with the plan to build a new Ontario casino in the city. In an interview, the highest-ranking official in the city explained that he is well familiar with the opposition’s stance on the matter and the money laundering firestorm, but the construction of a full-fledged casino venue is to revive the local economy, decrease the unemployment rate and boost the tourism sector. Mayor Ryan thumbed up the casino plan, which is to bring an all-inclusive tourist attraction to the city.
Pickering’s Mayor Dave Ryan expressed his full support to the construction of a casino operated by Great Canadian Gaming. The casino operator was recently awarded a takeover deal to run 3 casinos in Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Woodbine, Ajax Downs and Great Blue Heron for at least 22 years. Following the news, Ajax and Pickering were the two main pretenders to host the slots operation currently located in Ajax. Here it is important to mention that under Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. rules, there can be only one casino in the geographic area, which covers Ajax and Pickering.
The competition between the two cities was fierce, as Pickering wanted to benefit from the economic advantages of a gambling venue. The leaders of the 2 cities highlighted that the majority of the citizens support the establishment of a gambling venue in their cities. Earlier this year, the Ontario Municipal Board approved a plan for the construction of Durham Live casino in Pickering.
Opposition Wave Gathers Momentum Due to Money Laundering Scandal
But in September this year, the selected operator Great Canadian Gaming has found itself in the middle of a money laundering firestorm. The newly-elected British Columbia government found out a shelved casino report that revealed suspicious transactions at River Rock Casino Resort, which took place in 2015. This raised concerns that the gambling venue, operated by Great Canadian Gaming, could have been used for money laundering activities. As a result, the government launched an investigation to probe into the suspicious transactions.
This significantly tarnished the operator’s reputation. Last week, Great Canadian Gaming issued a statement in which it denies to be a subject of a criminal or federal investigation. OLG approved the operator’s words, explaining that Great Canadian Gaming has the potential to successfully fulfill its task to expand Ontario casinos to be more innovative.
The establishment of Durham Live casino in Pickering, however, sparked fury among some officials and residents. Yesterday, Casino Reports found out that the Progressive Conservative Party urges the government to halt its casino deal with Great Canadian Gaming amid the money laundering probe. Some of the Pickering’s residents also expressed their concerns regarding the presence of a gambling venue in their city. They outlined all the problems related to a gambling facility, including social ills, high traffic, crime rate increase and others.