In an interview with CBC News media center on Wednesday, Western Fair District CEO Hugh Mitchell told the reporters that the organization may have a hard time supposing that Gateway decides to quit on its casino project at the fairgrounds and re-direct its attention to another site. The reason for the Canadian casino operator to abandon its plans to establish a full-fledged casino at the Western Fair District is the pricey ground-lease rental rates of $6.2 million annual payment.
Yesterday, Western Fair District CEO Hugh Mitchell told CBC News that he supports Gateway’s casino expansion at the fairgrounds. Mr. Mitchell compared the situation with a trifecta bet, in which the bettor needs to predict which will be the three horses order they will finish. In other words, the chances to win are really small, but if the bettor manages to make an exact prediction, the payoff is really big.
The head of London’s Western Fair District explained that this deal can be a win-win for both parties, as it is to breathe new life to the horse racing and bring financial support to the area. Even though the Canadian gambling operator is not interested in horse racing, but in gambling, the annual rental lease is to invigorate the traditional equestrian sport.
Speaking of Gateway’s requirement to negotiate a cheaper lease, Mr. Mitchell commented that this is possible, as long as it is within certain limits. He elaborated that Gateway might find it senseless to pay such a high rent at this moment and Western Fair District is ready to discuss the issue. Mr. Mitchell reminded that the gambling operator should not forget that the new lease rate should be also complied with Western Fair District’s interests.
What makes the situation even more complicated is the fact that fairgrounds is a jointly-owned property by the Western Fair District and the City of London. This means that all three parties should find a reasonable consensus. Mr. Mitchell told CBC News that the casino expansion project aims at benefiting the city and the people.
Gateway’s Casino Project in Details
Earlier this year, Gateway announced that it is interested in expanding its footprint in London, whether that is at the Western Fair District or not. In June this year, Gateway unveiled its plans to establish a full-scale casino at London’s Western Fair District. The announcement came shortly after the gambling operator took over the gambling operations in Southwestern Ontario. Gateway laid a casino expansion plan that is to cost about $200 million. The entertainment complex is expected to be three times bigger than the existing slot-only gambling venue. However, it is yet to become clear if Gateway’s full-fledged casino is likely in the cards for Western Fair District.