Senators owner planning Ottawa casino for 7 years

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk wrote an open letter published in two local newspapers that he has planned to bid for a casino and wants people's support in re-opening the site selection process.

Mayor Jim Watson declared Rideau-Carleton Raceway only 'acceptable' casino option

This letter was published in two Ottawa newspapers detailing Eugene Melnyk's frustration with the casino bidding. (Jamie Long/CBC)

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has been planning for a casino for the last seven years and he was "blindsided" by the move to back the Rideau Carleton Raceway, according to an open letter published in two newspapers Friday.


Melnyk first spoke out a month ago against the decision by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to declare only one "acceptable" option for a casino in the capital - the Raceway.

In his open letter Friday, Melnyk insisted he has now moved on from "gaming" and said city hall "is on the verge of circumventing due process yet again."

Melnyk has accused the municipal government of sole-sourcing the casino after ongoing negotiations with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

He said he wanted city hall to outline a site selection process that is "fair, transparent, and competitive."

Watson has said his preference is for a downtown location but after the OLG denied his request for a second location at the raceway (similar to the Woodbine track in the Toronto area), he changed his stance.

Melnyk believes that is favouring "one constituent over another" and he wants all interested proponents to be able to submit a bid for the casino.