Casino Report Hints to Less Revenue for City Than First Thought reports Casino Slots
New reviews show the casino will do less to help financial crisis than expected
Tony Bitonti, who presides as spokesperson for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, confirmed the estimate of up to $100 million for the city materials prepared for public consultation on the casino. That figure would include public meetings that begin within the next week.
The sinking revenue could mean the high-stakes proposal for the casino may be a much tougher sell when the council has its final say early this year.
Mayor Rob Ford's executive committee had approved the consultations in November 2012 after receiving a city-commissioned Ernst & Young report speculating that the province would hand over as much as $168 million per year.
The city manager was directed by the committee to attempt a refining of the figure before it reached public consultation. Ford was clearly bolstered by the consultants prediction that the fee and increased property tax could bring in more than $200 million per year for the city coffers.
Ford had told reports: “I’ve always said I will support a casino if it is creating good-paying jobs, and the numbers that I’m seeing, if it is going to bring in $200 million a year, absolutely I’m voting for it.”
Joe Pennechetti, city manager, stated that the Ernst and Young report suggested that property negotiated casino windfall would fix the city's looming budget crises.
Botini stated on Friday that OLG arrived at the lower fee after potential casino operations and site fees were analyzed.
Toronto's fee would depend primarily upon the size of capital cost of the casino-resort building, Bitoni stated.
“If it’s a $2 billion facility, you’re looking at a certain (fee) amount, and if it’s a $3 billion, then you’re looking at a little bit more,” Bitonti said, noting that bigger projects also put bigger pressure on municipal roads and other infrastructure.
Ford's executive will gain public feedback and vote on the casino on March 20. City council is expected to have its vote in early April.
Mike Layton is just one of several councilors who opposed the waterfront casino, and stated on Friday he believes the OLG estimate is no more trustworthy than the Ernst & Young report.
“All of the players in this are overestimating the potential benefits,” he said, adding the “rosy figures” never take into account potential costs such as increased traffic congestion and parking spots lost to other businesses.
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