The majority of voters and city officials in Pickering support a casino project that includes the construction of a new full-fledged gambling center in Pickering. Despite the Conservatives’ negative opinion on the matter, Pickering’s mayor threw his support behind Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s casino and entertainment complex, that is to spread over 1.25 million square feet. Officials in the Town of Ajax are concerned that Ajax Downs could be closing, supposing that plans for the Durham Live entertainment center in Pickering move ahead.
Under provincial rules, there can be only one gaming facility in Pickering, Ajax, and Whitby. In other words, if Great Canadian opens a casino in Pickering, Ajax Downs will be closed. The gambling industry has always been a powerful economic engine and a dynamic job creator.
Even though the gambling industry is still ethically controversial, the sector continues to see an increase in turnover. Many jurisdictions, local as well as national, have started to consider gambling legalization or expansion amid fiscal crunch.
Casino Gambling as a Catalyst of Economic Development
Stimulated by the broad economic benefits, Ajax and Pickering are currently fighting for the right to host a casino. The Conservatives urged Premier Kathleen Wynne to postpone the deal with Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, a gaming company that found itself at the heart of a money laundering scandal.
Long story short, last September, the newly-elected British Columbia government publicized a shelved casino report that sparked money laundering concerns at Lower Mainland casinos. The casino report was kept under wraps for more than a year by the previous government. Currently, the British Columbia government is working on tightening its anti-money laundering policies.
Despite the disturbing revelations, Pickering’s mayor stated that he is on board for the casino project. He explained that the casino is to bring fresh money and more employment to the local economy. When big money is at stake, the fight is fierce. Great Canadian’s casino proposal stirred up the hornet’s nest once again.
The media agency Toronto Sun found out that the next provincial government may receive a new casino proposal for the construction of a large-scale entertainment complex in Ajax. In an interview, Rod Phillips, the PC candidate for Ajax, explained that Casino Ajax has better development opportunities as it spreads over a larger plot of land than the proposed site in Pickering. He added that even if Ajax Down closes, the local government is to “advocate for revenue-sharing with Ajax and/or the Durham Region as a whole”.