Entrepreneurs vie for new casino business

Several Sudbury companies are eager to bet on a new casino for the city.

Public meetings expected to start about the new site

A new casino planned for Sudbury will be bigger and have gaming tables. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

Several Sudbury companies are eager to bet on a new casino for the city.

A total of 15 companies and entrepreneurs have expressed interest in being a part of the new casino, which would replace the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation slots at the horse-racing track known as Sudbury Downs. The new venue would be a much bigger casino and include gaming tables.

City officials say they will work with the OLG to hold public meetings about the site, but councillor Claude Berthiaume said he and other councillors wonder why the city needs to help them at all.

"It sounds like we are being set up for a beat-up, either way, by the public by those against it," he said. "And if we push for one area or the other we get beat up again."

The city's director of economic development Ian Wood said, so far, the city is simply keeping the door open to exert some influence on the OLG.

"Our intention is to hear what is to provide an avenue to provide input so that everybody gets the lay of the land," Wood said. "I don't think we're trying to position the city over another."

But councillor Berthiaume's said he, as well as others, think they should keep the casino where it is.

"The whole thing with me is that we already have a facility that works," Berthiaume said.

Besides the existing site at Sudbury Downs, entrepreneurs have shown interest in the downtown, eastern part of the Kingsway Boulevard and in the South End.

An announcement on the new casino is expected in the spring.