Eugene Melnyk isn’t just content with being the owner of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. The high-profile businessman has had an eye on opening a casino for the last seven years. But even after having his intentions known, Melnyk’s hopes of opening a casino in Scotiabank Place appears to be on the outs after Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared his own plan to put a casino at the Rideau Carleton Raceway.
Needless to say, Melnyk isn’t all too pleased about the mayor’s proclamation that the Raceway was the only “acceptable” option for a casino in Ottawa. So he took his frustration out by writing an open letter, accusing city hall of being “on the verge of circumventing due process yet again”. If Melnyk had his way, he said that he’d want a site selection process that would allow interested parties to submit their respective bids for the casino and make their decision based on the proposal’s own merits.
The Senators owner strongly believes that Scotiabank Place, the home arena of the team, is a logical and reasonable location for a casino, but something the mayor apparently doesn’t agree with. For Watson, the Rideau Carleton Raceway is the only legitimate site to have a casino in Ottawa, even going so far as tell Ottawa Morning host Robyn Besnahan that if the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation strikes down his proposal, then there’s no alternative location to even discuss.
“If they say ‘no’ then there won’t be a gaming facility in the City of Ottawa, plain and simple,” the mayor said.
Sounds like a man who’s set on his beliefs. Unfortunately, the Ottawa mayor has got a pretty outspoken opponent on the other side who appears ready to let his voice be heard, or in this case, his written letter be read.