The Toronto’s waterfront redevelopment plans which have been shared by Premier Doug Ford have provoked local gambling industry’s interest and hopes have emerged that a downtown casino could be brought to consideration as part of Ontario Place’s remodeling.
The Globe and Mail revealed that two unnamed people familiar with the industry have shared that Mr. Ford has been fascinated with the idea, which he backed in the first place at the time of his tenure as a city councilor. The Ontario province-owned theme part has been neglected for a long time now but it has still been kept in a presentable condition.
Still, no official discussions regarding an additional casino in Toronto have been raised between the province and its existing gambling partners. What is more, such a process would probably face significant difficulties to proceed, especially considering the fact that the city council already voted against a new downtown casino opening back in 2013, and the mayor of Toronto, John Tory, does not support the idea, too.
In addition, according to people familiar with the matter, opening an Ontario Place-situated casino venue would require from the Government of the province to reach agreements with the gambling companies which already operate gambling venues on the territory of Ontario, as these companies would have to proceed operation in the conditions of increased market competition should a new casino open in the province.
Even more, as revealed by The Globe and Mail, the unnamed gambling sector sources have shared that the existing contract between the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) and the consortium which operates three Greater Toronto Area-based gambling venues includes the right of an effective veto on future development of casino gambling in the region.
Plans for Possible Addition of Waterfront Casino Remain Unclear
An announcement, saying that the province of Ontario plans to bring a new life to Ontario Place in collaboration with the City of Toronto, was made by Mr. Ford in August 2018.
For a long time now, the waterfront area has been considered a possible site for a gambling complex to be established there. Despite Mr. Ford’s support for the possible addition of a casino to the site, neither he nor the government has provided any more details about the plans. Still, according to some people close to the matter, the Premier is personally interested in the project.
As mentioned above, Mr. Ford first backed the idea for a waterfront gambling complex at the time when he served as a city councilor of Toronto. He pushed a plan for a Ferris wheel and a monorail installation at the site, but the project was not given the green light.
When asked about the possible addition of a waterfront casino at the site, Mr. Ford’s spokesman, Simon Jefferies, refused to make further comments on the matter, saying that more information would be provided “in the future”.
For the time being, only speculations have been made for the fate of the site. According to industry insiders, the Provincial Government has not contracted Great Canadian Gaming to renegotiated the terms of their current agreement. Another source close to the issue shared that Great Canadian Gaming could be allowed to establish a new casino in the city of Toronto as part of the aforementioned agreement, but that aspect of the deal has not been revealed to the wider public.