Is the Toronto casino dead? Politicos weigh in

Is the Toronto casino dead? Politicos weigh in

The chances of a splashy Toronto casino slimmed significantly yesterday when premier Kathleen Wynne nixed a plan to give the city a better deal (read: larger hosting fees) than any other casino-hosting region. The upshot: the much-ballyhooed $50-to-$100 million a year in cash for Toronto is likely no longer realistic, which several councillors said effectively kills any possibility of a gambling den. However, others—including Rob Ford—aren’t giving up hope. Below, reactions from some of the more opinionated players in the casino debate.

“I said it has got to be fair, it has got be the same. There can’t be special deals for any jurisdiction…If that means everyone is going to be offered more, so be it. If it means Toronto is going to be offered less, then so be it.”

—Premier Kathleen Wynne

“You can’t compare us to the second largest city which is Ottawa. We’re like three times the size. Might even be four.”

—Toronto mayor Rob Ford

“If the patient was drowning before, the patient is basically in the bottom of the water now and weighted down.”

—Councillor Michael Thompson, economic development committee chair and a casino swing vote

“I’ve always believed that Toronto should be getting $100-million-plus for permitting a casino in the city. If the revenues are small, the chances are slim that Toronto’s ever going to support a casino.”

—David Shiner, another undecided councillor

“Anybody that is hoping for a payout anywhere above $20 million is dreaming in Technicolor…I think it kills the casino.”

—Councillor and vocal casino opponent Adam Vaughan

“[There] are lot more red flags than there are green flags.”

—Councillor Paul Ainslie, who has previously shown tentative support for a casino

“We can’t make the final decision until we see [the proposals]…We want the best offer possible.”

—Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, who has supported the casino in the past

• Toronto casino still a cash cow: Premier [Toronto Star]
• Premier Wynne’s intervention changes the odds on Toronto casino [Globe and Mail]
• ‘Absolutely’ Toronto should get a special casino deal, Ford says, while premier tells OLG the opposite [National Post]
• Toronto casino: No special deal means proposal may be dead [Toronto Star]
• Mayor Rob Ford calls for a special casino deal [Toronto Sun]

(Images: casino sign, Ian McKellar; Kathleen Wynne, Jim Diodati, Facebook; Rob Ford, David Shiner, Michael Thompson, Christopher Drost; Adam Vaughan, BriYYZ; Paul Ainslie, Twitter; Doug Holyday, City of Toronto)