By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Thursday March 15, 2012
Massive gambling and lottery shakeup coming
Cities — including Hamilton — will help shape the future of gambling in their communities during a massive shakeup of gaming operations in Ontario.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced the broad strokes of its plans to modernize its operations Monday, including introducing online gaming, building a new casino somewhere in the Greater Toronto Area, expanding into new areas and closing several money-losing operations.
It’s not clear how these changes will affect Hamilton, including Flamboro Downs, the racetrack and slot machine behemoth located on the city’s outskirts. And though this announcement opens the door to new gambling opportunities in Hamilton, it’s still too early to say what form that will take.
What is clear, however, is that city council and the community will have a say in the outcome.
“It will be up to us to determine what the future of gambling looks like in Hamilton,” said city spokesperson Mike Kirkopoulos.
The OLG offered few concrete details on Monday, declining to reveal which facilities would be closing and how exactly the changes will play out. The plan is expected to add $1.3 billion a year to provincial coffers and result in 2,300 net new jobs in gaming and 4,000 spinoff jobs in retail and hospitality.
Many of those jobs will be created by a brand new, state of the art casino scheduled to be built somewhere in the GTA. However, the OLG’s top executive say the Hamilton area is not being considered for that project.
One of the key elements of the plan is to bring facilities to “where people happen to be,” said OLG chair Paul Godfrey. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)