At the policy committee meeting that took place this Monday, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, one of the Canadian major gambling operators, offered a close look at its proposed Delta casino at the Western Fair District, London. Casino officials revealed the look and design of its latest full-fledged casino project. London councilors took the opportunity to file various important questions regarding the project and express their concerns.
The entertainment project will be built on 12 acres of land and will capitalize on the opportunity to attract both gambling and non-gambling visitors. The gambling operator allotted $140 million for the two-phased project. Gateway announced that the completion of the entire casino complex is to take 2 years if the construction work goes on schedule. According to Gateway’s project, the entertainment complex is to feature a gambling area with a bountiful selection of games, eight-storey hotel, food and beverage options.
Hot Topics That Appeared on the Agenda
On Monday, Gateway presented its casino plan for the construction of a full-blown entertainment complex at the Western Fair District. City architects and officials attended the meeting in an attempt to get more information regarding Gateway’s project. The city officials could not ignore one important aspect related to the casino gambling, and that is the possible traffic jams and parking difficulty. Gateway’s representatives explained that the project does not include underground parking system, but the casino may eventually lease space to expand the parking space.
City councilors raised also another question related to Harness racing’s blurred future. Rumors were swirling around that Gateway is to eliminate the racetrack, which offers the second-biggest racing purses in Ontario. Industry-involved people were worried that the entire horse-racing industry in London might be threatened with extinction as Gateway is involved in the casino business and the Canadian gambling conglomerate has no interest in investing in horse racing. Casino representatives poured cold water on these claims, explaining that the racetrack will continue operating under Western Fair staff, who will have the honor to determine the racetrack’s fate.
Coming as no surprise, the city councilors could not help but address another important issue related to problem gambling. Gateway’s officials explained that Ontario is fully committed to efficiently fight the problem. They added that the province pours $60 million per year in different responsible gambling campaigns. Furthermore, Gateway itself is also dedicated to providing gambling games in a socially responsible manner.
City officials asked Gateway’s representatives for their opinion regarding a possible competition between Delta casino and Budweiser Gardens (the largest sports-entertainment center, in London, Ontario, Canada). Casino officials asserted that no competition between the two facilities is expected as they are completely different by their very nature.
A number of councilors voiced their concerns regarding the annual Western Fair, while others asked about a consultation to gather feedback from the public. Coun. Harold Usher commented that the construction of a full-fledged casino complex may raise a wave of discontent among the locals, who agreed on slot-only gambling venue, but not on a casino complex.