Eugene Melnyk is sounding off against the City of Ottawa once again about the Rideau Carleton Raceway casino, taking swipes at the mayor, deputy mayor, and the casino itself.


Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has said he worked on plans for a casino in Kanata for seven years. (CBC)

The Ottawa Senators owner told a Toronto radio station Tuesday the city sole-sourced casino rights to the raceway when it decided to back the Rideau Carleton Raceway as the only option for a new casino in the capital.

"There's supposed to be submissions of a bid, and why is this the best spot … And these guys just said no, it's going to be here or it's not going to be anywhere, period. Don't even submit," Melnyk told Toronto's Fan 590.

"Win lose or draw, I don't mind losing. But these guys didn't even give me a shot."

Then Melnyk focused on Ottawa mayor Jim Watson.

"The mayor, I don't know what planet he's flown in from, but he then turns around and says, 'No, no, this is the only place we are going to do it,'" Melnyk said.

As for deputy mayor Steve Desroches, Melnyk said: "They should have named Neptune after you, you know? That's where you belong. … Tell me again how you got elected?"

Earlier this summer, Melynk threatened legal action over the selection process. He said he'd been making plans for a casino close to the Canadian Tire Centre for seven years, and that it would help Senators finances.

Melnyk said the Rideau Carleton Raceway "is a little, tiny C track that wouldn't even make it in the Idaho State Fair," and that he's only been once to lay a bet on a horse. He said he wouldn't go there "without an army."

Casino issue 'not a priority,' Watson says

Asked about Melnyk's comments, Watson told reporters Wednesday the city continues to work with the Senators.


Mayor Jim Watson said the city is moving on from the casino debate and he believes the Ottawa Senators and City of Ottawa have a good working relationship. (CBC)

"Later this fall we'll be opening up an off-ramp that the city and the province have put close to $750,000 into to make it easier for people to go by bus to Senators games," Watson said.

"We're working hard on getting the Sensplex in the east end opened up. We have a great relationship with the Sensplex west, so I continue to remain very optimistic that we have a good working relationship and the proof's in the pudding.

"But as I've said time and time again, the casino issue is not a priority," Watson continued. "The issues that are important to me, the people I've heard form in the last couple of days … are get the budget right, make sure it's affordable, continue the work you're doing to improve transit, make sure you get the infrastructure so we can fight the gridlock that people in the east end are facing, clean up the Ottawa River, make sure that Lansdowne remains on time and on budget."

Melnyk told Fan 590 that the issue isn't over for him.

"Are you kidding?" he said. "We're just getting warmed up."

Asked about that statement on Wednesday, Watson said he couldn't comment.

"I can't comment on what Mr. Melnyk is proposing to do. That's up to him to comment on further," Watson said.