Toronto Looks To Casino To Fill Budget Deficit

Politicians in Toronto are looking to large-scale developments centered around casinos to help boost the city's economy. But the provincial legislation in Ontario may prevent the approval of any new casinos.

"The Toronto City council recently approved a massive $750 million development at Woodbine racetrack, in the city's northwest corner, including a hotel, shopping, a skating rink and a large area that could easily house a full casino."

"The city faces a potential $575 million budget shortfall next year. On Tuesday, Mayor David Miller announced a 'cost-containment' strategy that could mean large cuts in services."

"'A casino in Toronto could get us out of our budget hole,' said Councillor Howard Moscoe (Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence). 'But if there is one, we want the same deal that the province gets.'"

"Woodbine has 2,000 slot machines; the city gets 5 per cent of the revenue on the first 450 machines, and 2 per cent from the rest. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG), run by the province, receives half."

"But licensing a casino is up to the province, and 'That proposal is not under consideration from the provincial perspective,' said Amy Tang, an aide to Public Infrastructure Renewal Minister David Caplan, who oversees gaming in Ontario. 'Because we did announce a gaming strategy in January 2005 where we said no new gaming sites. That is still in effect.'"

Full Story: Casino eyed as city saviour

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