The new operators of Copps Coliseum and Hamilton Place aren't big on the idea of a competing downtown casino, says Coun. Jason Farr.
In an announcement Thursday afternoon, the downtown councillor said he's heard from Global Spectrum and Live Nation, the new operators of two-thirds of the city's Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc. (HECFI).
The companies said they bid not knowing there could be a competing casino, Farr said.
Reading from an email from Riley O'Connor, chair of Live Nation Canada, Farr said the ticket giant believes any such new venue "will directly compete with Copps Coliseum and Hamilton Place."
Frank Russo, vice-president of business development and client relations at Global Spectrum, also sent an email, Farr said.
It read, "At no time during the competitive process were we made aware of the possibility of a competitive casino entertainment facility being developed in downtown Hamilton."
Councillors voted Thursday afternoon on Flamboro Downs being the preferred location for any casino. This new just confirms that, Farr said.
"This point just further gives reason toward that kind of support for Flamborough as a location."
Council approved an operational agreement between Global Spectrum and Live Nation on Wednesday. The agreement, which last for five years and 10 months, guarantees the reduction of annual operating losses for Copps Coliseum and Hamilton Place by at least $500,000 per year.
Those savings will likely not happen if there's a casino, Farr said.
Farr has received emails from Ward 2 businesses concerned about the impact of a downtown casino, which led him to ask Global Spectrum and Live Nation their opinions, he said.
In an email to CBC Hamilton, RockHammer, a group that has pitched a $200-million casino-hotel complex for the city's core, said its planned development "does not include entertainment facilities that would compete with Copps or Hamilton Place."
"If we are selected as the operator by [Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation], it is our preference to work with Global Spectrum/Live Nation to bring world-class entertainment to these existing facilities," wrote RockHammer spokesperson Mark McSporran.
"With the amount of traffic that we're hoping to drive through this facility, we would hope to work with other stakeholders so that we could create a whole evening of entertainment options for people," he said in a follow-up phone call.
"We want to put together a product that makes sense for everybody involved."