City council has voted in favour of designating the Rideau Carleton Raceway as the only suitable location for a casino in Ottawa, even as some councillors raised concerns about the process that led to the vote.
Coun. Rainer Bloess called it a "bungled process" before voting in favour. Coun. Stephen Blais, who also voted yes, said the "mess" wasn't OLG's fault.
Before the meeting, Mayor Jim Watson said he wants to move forward with a busy fall schedule.
"Many residents across the city have told me and other members of council that we should simply leave the slots where they currently are," he said. "There's no such thing as a consensus view on this issue. We could spend another thousand hours debating this issue and we would not have greater agreement."
Coun. Diane Deans, who has steadfastly voted against any casino in Ottawa, has said good decisions can't be expected from bad processes.
Before the vote Wednesday, Deans asked councillors to start the process over again.
But the Wednesday-morning vote passed 17 in favour, six against.
The same motion passed by council also includes a list of restrictions, proposed by the Ottawa Public Board of Health, to reduce the risk of gambling addictions.
The restrictions, which the city will recommended to the successful manager of any casino but may not be entertained by OLG, include:
- Limiting hours of operation (no 24-hour access to venues, facility to be closed at least six hours each day).
- Restricting the number of electronic gaming machines and slowing down machine speed of play, as well as prohibit features that promote false beliefs of the odds of winning.
- Eliminating casino loyalty programs.
- Prohibiting ATMs on the gambling floor.
- Prohibiting casino credit and holding accounts.
- Reducing maximum bet size.
- Mandating a daily loss maximum.
- Implementing strong casino self-exclusion programs, including a mandatory player card system.
- Issuing monthly individual patron statements which include full membership medians and averages to compare against loss, frequency and duration of play.
- Designating areas for alcohol purchase and not providing alcohol.
Earlier Wednesday, a motion from Coun. Marianne Wilkinson — to defer selecting the raceway site until an Ontario Horse Racing Industry Panel report — was defeated.