Casino News

London City Hall Split on Casino, Neighboring Communities Ready to Enter Race

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment has previously issued its plans for development in London, Ontario and there have been major changes to the initial plan for action. Now it is time for the mandatory rezoning application approval that would facilitate the process but local officials appear to be split on the subject.

The latest voting on 3334 and 3354 Wonderland Rd. rezoning saw a 2-2 vote as conversations came to a halt. Development in the southwest area of the city was eyed as an alternative opportunity for the collaboration between Gateway Casinos and London.

At the very beginning of discussions on a new casino in the region, the operator proposed a grand complex at Western Fair District. The project was estimated to cost CA$140 million and include a casino complex with dining offerings, as well as a hotel tower to pump up the family-friendly factor.

Councilors Want Casino in Western Fair District

As time progressed things have changed and nowadays the project is estimated to cost some CA$75 million, reducing the overall price in half. It would not feature accommodation offerings, but instead, be an independent casino building in the southwest area of London between Bradley Avenue and Wharncliffe Road.

Last week the conversation around the proposed location for a casino complex highlighted a discrepancy. During the recent voting, it became clearer than ever, that half of the city hall is against an independent casino building. Ward 9 Coun. Anna Hopkins and Ward 11 Coun. Stephen Turner were the individuals opposing the idea. Two city hall members were absent during the vote.

Local officials stated their position that a casino venue would be best positioned for success at Western Fair District and this is the right thing to do both for the local economy and local horse people. Councilor Anna Hopkins was among the individuals supporting this idea. In response to that, Rob Mitchell of Gateway Casinos and Entertainment made it clear that this plan is no longer considered by the casino operator, as the southwest area of London is eyed.

Southwold, St. Thomas Eye Casino

The casino operator already rezoned the Western Fair District area back when the conversations were in progress. Now projections for the new casino venue are that it would generate CA$2.5 million in tax revenue on an annual basis, in addition to mandatory gaming revenue allocations reaching CA$4.5 million to the host community.

Locals had some time to share their thoughts on the subject and concerns were expressed. Problem gambling surge might be among the effects for the community once Starlight Casino London launches operation. The current halt comes as an unexpected delay for Gateway Casinos Grant Jones, Southwold Township Mayor was among the officials to express their confusion with the vote.

He also added that the community is up for the challenge of hosting a casino venue, in case London refuses to. St. Thomas has also joined the conversation, stating that a casino venue located there could boost the local economy and bring a financial boost, as well as more people to the area. All council members will be present for the next chapter of the debate on July 30.