London politicians are pushing for more public meetings to discuss Gateway Casinos & Entertainment’s proposal for the construction of a C$142-million full-fledged casino at the Western Fair District. The idea behind the politicians’ push for more community input is to weigh the costs and benefits of hosting a casino. Councilors agreed to host more public meetings to talk to locals and problem gamblers and gather feedback from the people.
Ward 11 Coun. Stephen Turner explained that it is of essential importance to talk to the community and discuss the potential influence of hosting a casino at the Western Fair District. He added that London politicians will seek the advice of the Canadian Association for Addictions and Mental Health to discuss concerns related to problem gambling and the social effects of casino development at the fairgrounds.
The public meetings are set to commence in March this year and the result of the discussions will predetermine the future of Gateway’s ambitious casino project. Earlier this month, Gateway spokesperson Rob Mitchell announced that the company is more than ready to participate in public meetings and provide more detailed information regarding the casino project.
Expectations for Gateway’s Casino Proposal
The gambling operator unveiled its plan to build a full-fledged entertainment center at the Western Fair District. Currently, Western Fair District is a modest gambling lounge that hosts slot machines once operated by Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation (OLG). However, after a lengthy bidding process, OLG selected Gateway as the preferred contractor to take over the day-to-day operations of the slot machines at Western Fair (and several other OLG facilities).
As it can be recalled, OLG announced the launch of its modernization procurement process some time ago in an attempt to revive the gambling industry in segregated areas. As for now, OLG’s modernization plan seems to work, albeit a bit slower than expected. The new management of the slot-machine operation at Western Fair could lead to a new era for the gaming center, supposing that Gateway receives the go-ahead for the construction of the gambling complex. The company behind the casino proposal announced that the planned gambling complex is to offer a plethora of gambling and non-gambling activities under one roof.
Gateway’s plan may meet yet another problem and that is the expensive rent at the Western Fair District. The company is making efforts to negotiate a less expensive lease after OLG’s current agreement expires in 2020. Gateway explained that a cheaper lease would allow the company to pump C$140 million in the project. In exchange, the expansion would pay richly in taxes and jobs.