Kitchener councillor criticizes OLG's casino pitch

Kitchener councillor Bil Ioannidis thinks the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation hasn't made a good case for a casino in the city.
A view of Kitchener City Hall. The city is still deciding whether or not to tell the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation if it would be interested in hosting a casino.

A member of Kitchener's economic development advisory committee tasked with researching the economic benefits of a casino in the city, thinks the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation hasn't made a good case for one.

"I haven't heard enough from the OLG. It's been kind of clouded, what the economic benefits would be," said Coun. Bil Ioannidis in an interview Tuesday with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition.

"If their concern was to have a casino in Kitchener, they didn't do a really good  job in selling it to us."

The City of Kitchener has held two public consultations on the question of a casino, and the response from the public was largely negative.

The advisory committee has requested that the city undertake more research about the impact a casino would bring, and whether or not the economic benefits of a casino are strong.

"I think what they're concerned about is that there is some information out there that we as a community need to look at further, instead of looking at the emotional aspect of it," said Ioannidis.

But he admitted that, personally, he didn't think the economic perspective in favour of a casino was strong enough.

"If you look at the other advisory committees that advised us, they're all against it," said Ioannidis.

"If it was an overwhelming benefit to the community that we all could see, I think maybe that could have a case."

Ioannidis says he personally is leaning towards voting against pursuing a casino in Kitchener, but is waiting to see the results of an online survey run by the city.

Waterloo council voted unanimously against a casino in the city on Monday night, while Woolwich Township council is in favour of pursuing a casino.

Kitchener council will make a final decision on whether it wants to pursue a casino next Monday