Sixty more Hamilton bands, venues and promoters have lent their names to a statement denouncing a casino in Hamilton's downtown core.
Well-known artists like Tom Wilson and Harlan Pepper added their names to a list on Friday that already included the likes of The Arkells, Alexisonfire and venues like The Casbah. The list now includes 139 names.
"As musicians, promoters and music venue owners we have a very real concern that a large entertainment complex, run in part by a large American-owned corporation, could potentially harm local, independent music venues and promoters," the statement reads.
"As local independent businesses who do not have the advantage of an exclusive partnership with a gambling monopoly, we are concerned that this development will not compete on a level playing field, and harm some of the many businesses who have already invested in the downtown core." (To read the statement in full, click here.)
According to newly-formed consortium RockHammer Inc., in addition to a gaming facility, the proposed development would include a Hard Rock Café-branded luxury hotel, a live music venue, multiple bars and restaurants and a museum celebrating Canadian music.
"This entertainment destination has been conceived by Hamiltonians, to be operated by Hamiltonians, financed by Hamiltonians, and finally to be enjoyed by Hamiltonians," P.J. Mercanti, co-owner of Carmen's Group, told a by-invitation-only crowd at Sizzle nightclub in Hess Village on Monday.
Hamilton has been debating a possible casino since last year. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commissions' lease to operate 801 slot machines at Flamboro Downs expires March 31.
The corporation just extended the period of time for the city to pass a motion saying whether Hamilton still wants a gaming facility, and if so, where one could be located.