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September 21, 2018

Ontario Finance Minister open to idea of a casino on Toronto’s waterfront


Ontario’s Finance Minister says the provincial government is open to having a casino in downtown Toronto, but any decision will be made in consultation with the city as part of a larger waterfront redevelopment.

Vic Fedeli’s comments are the first public signal that Premier Doug Ford’s government is considering a gambling complex as part of a plan to revitalize Ontario Place, the provincially owned waterfront theme park that was mothballed several years ago.

Asked if he wanted a casino, Mr. Fedeli said: “I don’t open the door and I don’t close the door. There has been a spike of interest in it, and so you have to have these kinds of discussions.”

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The Globe and Mail reported on Thursday that the Premier, who supported a waterfront casino when he was a Toronto city councillor, has privately mused about reviving the idea. Mr. Ford’s Ontario Place redevelopment announcement last month sparked speculation in the gambling industry that a downtown casino could be back on the table.

Mayor John Tory opposes having a casino in the city’s core and a previous city council rejected the idea in 2013.

“Toronto does not need and I don’t think should have a downtown or waterfront casino. We have lots of gambling elsewhere in the city,” Mr. Tory told reporters on Thursday.

News that the province is open to a casino comes during the campaign for next month’s municipal election, which will elect fewer city councillors and could remake the political landscape.

Mr. Fedeli, who said Mr. Ford had not raised the casino issue with him, said the provincial government would discuss the possibility of a waterfront facility with the City of Toronto and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG)

Asked who would decide, Mr. Fedeli said: “We’re going to continue discussing things together and see what direction it takes.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Official Opposition would not support a waterfront casino.

Keep reading in The Globe and Mail


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