London City hall coffers were boosted with CA$4.8 million thanks to the Western Fair slots in 2017. This has been the annual cash flow received by the city, which could rise even more in case that London gives the green light to the CA$140-million casino project proposed by the largest private casino operator in the country.
The cash injection, which comes as part of a deal between the city and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), under which a portion of the gambling revenue is redirected to local communities. As revealed by City officials yesterday, the amount has been spent for a number of road projects, including the reconstruction of the Wonderland Road, as well as for some upgrades at the North London Optimist community center and Southcrest pool.
For some time now, there have been talks regarding a new casino and hotel complex project which Gateway Casinos and Entertainment initially launched for the Western Fair, but the negotiations for it have been going on for more than a year. After lengthy negotiations which were aimed at reaching more favorable terms for the lease contract, Gateway Casinos used a number of occasions to hint that it is thinking about a possible construction of a new casino on Wonderland Road instead.
Gateway Casinos Considering Other Locations for the Mega-Casino
Still, despite the possibility for the negotiations to fall apart, OLG’s senior manager of municipal and community relations, Tyjondah Marshall Kerr, said that Londoners should try to “remain positive” despite the delay. Ms. Kerr further explained that OLG truly believes that the local community would like to have the new casino in the city.
According to financial reports, the arrangement between the private gambling operator and the City of London contributed an amount of C$4.5 million to city hall coffers in 2015 and 2016. A total amount of CA$73.4 million has been brought back to London residents since 1999 when the deal was signed.
According to city officials, that overall amount could increase even more, in case that a larger casino is established in London. Apart from slot machines, the project presented by Gateway Casinos also includes table games to be offered in the new gambling facility.
The project for the new mega-casino involves 46 table games, and 1,200 slot machines, as well as a 125-room hotel, several dining areas and a new, smaller grandstand. As the company’s spokesman Rob Mitchell explained, the operator was still considering some other sites which would be suitable for the new project, apart from the Fairgrounds. Mr. Mitchell further revealed that the company is willing to collaborate with a new city council and a new mayor and will probably not return at the negotiating table until the new council swears an oath in December 2018.