Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne sought to quell any question about who is driving the bus on a proposal that could bring a new casino under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to Ottawa Friday, July 19.
“My position is that the city needs to have a conversation with the OLG about commercial viability,” said Wynne Friday. The premier was in Ottawa to campaign for former Dalton McGuinty right-hand man John Fraser, who is one of five Liberal hopefuls running in by-elections set for Aug. 1.
“The final decision hasn’t been made at council,” Wynne said of a Wednesday council vote that gave Mayor Jim Watson the go-ahead to approach Queen’s Park in hopes the province will allow expanded gaming at the Rideau Carleton Raceway as well as a new casino.
Watson recently proposed only expanded gaming at the RCR, but chose to pursue two casino zones with the province after pressure from Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who said expanding gaming at the race track amounted to sole-sourcing the contract. A previous effort by the city two get two casinos under Premier Dalton McGuinty and former OLG Chair, Paul Godfrey, failed.
“I’ve said all along that it’s up to municipalities to work with OLG to make these decisions,” Wynne said, adding that the decision on whether the city could get two gaming zones would come down to the numbers.
“The expertise around commercial viability is with the OLG,” she reiterated. “In terms of zoning and all those issues, those are issues that need to be decided when there’s an actual proposal and its been decided.”