Toronto, in itself, is already a pretty fine metropolitan city. It’s a cultural melting pot. It’s got the Niagara Falls. And it’s got some pretty great sports teams. Ok, that last part’s an outright lie because the last time the Raptors, the Leafs, and the Blue Jays were relevant, Twitter hadn’t even existed yet. But there are a lot of things to love about Toronto and according to city staff, a future casino could very well be one of them.
With the release of a report looking into the feasibility of a casino being set-up in Toronto, one of the worst kept secrets in the industry was finally laid out to bare. According to the report, Toronto could stand to break the bank like a piñata should the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation decide to allow the building of a future casino in the bustling metropolis. The financial numbers the report showed are pretty staggering: $32 million to $168 million a year in hosting fees for the city; $250 million earned for the city if the casino is built on city-owned land; $27 million in property taxes; and an estimated $640 million in net GDP.
You don’t need to be Sheldon Cooper to figure out that those numbers scream “cha-ching! cha-ching!”.
In addition to the financial windfall the city stands to gain, a new casino in Toronto could also open up a multitude of employment opportunities for its residents. It’s estimated that anywhere between 3,600 to 8,5000 construction jobs could be had, and should an integrated entertainment complex is built, that’s another 4,400 to 7,300 jobs.
City manager Joe Pennachetti emphasized in the report the enormous potential of a casino in Toronto. “It must be noted that this potential revenue would have significant impact on providing fiscal sustainability to the city’s annual operating budget by eliminating the need for one-time revenues and providing financial flexibility to meet growth pressures,” he said.
Casino operators looking into making bids for the casino have already ramped up their efforts to scout for potential locations for their casinos. Last week, the Toronto Sun reported that Steve Wynn went north of the border last month to scout for possible locations for his proposed casino. The Sun also claimed that Wynn was interested in building his casino in a number of potential sites, including the Toronto Convention Centre, Port Lands, the Canadian National Exhibition Grounds and the Woodbine Racetrack.
Likewise, Oxford Properties Group, voiced similar interest earlier this month when it announced its planned proposal to build a $3-billion project on a land it owns at the heart of the bustling city. As part of their proposal, OPG is looking at building a hotel, an urban theme park, a casino, and retail establishments.
From here, the report will be reviewed by Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee next Monday, at which time the committee will be asked to approve public consultation on a casino with a report due anywhere between February or March next year.
It’s been no secret that Mayor Ford has been a strong voice in supporting the set-up of a casino in his city. Now that the report has moved into his desk, we’ll be very surprised if this pro-casino movement encounters any major speed bump moving forward.