City councillors are expected to pass a motion Thursday that would demand final approval of any potential casino proposals for Hamilton.
Coun. Sam Merulla will introduce a motion specifying that Flamboro Downs is the preferred location for a casino. That same motion will also ask for veto power over whatever proposal the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) chooses, he said.
Councillors will vote at a special general issues committee meeting at city hall at 1 p.m. The crowd is expected to include casino advocates, casino opponents and members of the horseracing industry.
Council received a promise in writing from the OLG on Wednesday that it will grant Hamilton veto power, Merulla said. As far as he knows, this is unique in the province.
“It's a made-in-Hamilton solution,” he said.
The city has been grappling with the idea of a casino since last year. The province cancelled its Slots at Racetracks program — through which there are 801 slots at Flamboro Downs — and put out a call for cities that might want a casino.
If Hamilton wants a casino, the OLG will put out a request for proposals. One potential operator — a partnership between Hard Rock and Carmen's Inc. called RockHammer — has already indicated a desire to build a hotel and casino complex in downtown Hamilton.
Councillors stated a preference last year for Flamboro Downs. Thursday's motion, Merulla said, is “a compromised position that's going to be unanimously supported” among councillors.
“It clearly states that Flamborough is the site, and that the RFP will go out, and that we can say yea or nay to any proposal.”