Bingeman's complex could be site for Kitchener casino

With the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation expanding gaming, Bingeman's has been in contact with casino operators about the possibility of a partnership if the City of Kitchener votes to allow a casino.
An artist render of what a hotel, convention centre and casino could look like on the Bingeman's property in Kitchener. (ABA Architects)

The entertainment complex Bingeman's could be a venue for a Kitchener casino should council choose to attract one to the city, says the head of the venue.

Mark Bingeman, president of popular entertainment complex Bingeman's, said he has had very early conversations with private gaming operators about the possibility of some form of partnership on the family's property on Victoria Street in Kitchener.

"When the process started some time ago, many of the gaming operators were investigating around the province, and certainly we had very light discussions," Bingeman told CBC's Craig Norris Thursday in an interview on The Morning Edition.

He said there needs to be clear direction from the city about their intentions pertaining to a possible casino before he can have more detailed discussions with potential operators.

He didn't specify which operators he's spoken to.

A venue for gaming, Bingeman said, would fit well with his company's vision of building a hotel and conference centre.

"We already have 50,000 square feet of [convention] space operating. Adding more [space] and attaching to that would be a very cost effective way to go about it. The other item is all the different entertainment aspects that we have now and are looking to build in the future," Bingeman said.

Expanded convention centre floor space, along with a hotel and a gaming site combined could "provide a much more robust offering to bring people to the community," he said.

Bingeman's has commissioned a rendering of how a hotel and convention centre married with a casino could look. "We've done some mock-ups just to give people an impression, and from our standpoint just to make sure that everything flows together, Bingeman said.

"Although we have a lot of land, we want to make sure that we do smart planning." That includes a spatial and parking study, Bingeman said.

If Kitchener councillors end up voting not to pursue bringing a casino to the city, Bingeman would work to develop a hotel and convention centre anyway

 "We've been working on those plans for a while and we will certainly continue with them."

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is looking to expand the number of gaming facilities in the province, and may add a casino to Waterloo region.

The City of Kitchener opens public consultations starting April 15, when an online survey goes live for about 2 weeks. Additionally, an in-person public input session is scheduled for April 23. Councillors will hold a final vote on whether to pursue a casino on May 13.

Separately, the City of Waterloo is currently seeking input from the community relating the the appetite for a casino. Residents have until April 30 to submit their comments through an online feedback form, email, telephone, or letter mail.

To date, the Township of Woolwich is the only municipality within the Region of Waterloo to have expressed interest in a casino to the OLG.