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CBC Ottawa

Watson willing to gamble on gaming tables

So Jim Watson would like to see black jack and craps alongside the one-armed bandits at Rideau Carleton Raceway. The Raceway approached Watson's office with the idea a couple weeks ago. They're seeking permission from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to launch a two-year pilot project. The City already rakes in more than $4-million a year off the slots at the Raceway, thanks to a long-standing revenue sharing agreement. Twenty or 21 gaming tables would pull in another $2-million. But what about the ethics of it? You know, those stories we hear about toddlers left for hours in the car while their gambling-addicted parents are inside the casino, throwing their money away? Here's what the mayor had to say today:

"The debate over casinos was 20 years ago. We have casinos, so it's my perspective that we have to do what we can to keep some of that money on the Ontario side of the border. We estimate there are millions and millions of dollars that are going over to Quebec that could remain in Ontario that help facilitate our projects, our hospitals, our municipal projects."

Here's another view on the matter, courtesy of the Canada Safety Council.

If the Raceway gets permission from OLG, it will then need to be re-zoned to allow gaming tables. That's where the City comes in, and that's where Watson says there will be plenty of public consultation before anyone starts counting their money.

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