Sens future on the line over city's casino decision
Senators' owner says city's decision on casino could put the NHL francise at risk
The owner of the Ottawa Senators says if the city decides to only allow a new casino at the Rideau Carleton Raceway, it could put the NHL franchise at risk.
On Monday morning the finance and economic development committee voted to say no to a new casino, unless it is at the raceway.
The decision is a reversal from July, when Council signalled it's desire to develop two sites.
Council votes on the committee motion on Wednesday.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was eager to build two casinos last month, but after a letter from the provincial government shooting down that option Watson just wants to move on.
"The decision is not going to make everyone happy," acknowledged Watson.
The committee passed two motions Monday morning. The first was to keep the Rideau Carleton Raceway as the only place for expanded gaming facilities and the second was to cap the amount of gaming tables, with reduced operating hours.
The decisions appeased some community associations that spoke about the negative effects of gambling, but drew contempt from the owner of the Ottawa Senators.
"We still say this is sole-sourced and we'll see how and where we're going to put that forward," said Paul Webber, the lawyer for the entertainment group.
The group presented a formal presentation with a vision for an entertainment complex incorporating restaurants, shops and concert halls in Kanata.
The owner of the Ottawa Senators, Eugene Melnyk, said that without the extra revenue the future of the club is at risk.
"I don't get it," said Melnyk about the committee's decision.
Melnyk went on to highlight how much his franchise is involved in the city.
"You know, I don't want to say who's more important and who gives more to the community but I will," he said.
"I think we are doing a lot for the community, everybody knows it, I don't have to repeat it," said Melnyk.
"We just do it because we want to do it," he said. "What are they giving back to the community?"
He said players for the Ottawa Senators are always at community events and that some teams are not involved at all in their cities.
Aug. 26 marks the 10th anniversary of Eugene Melnyk taking over the Ottawa Senators.