Casino would bring cash to Toronto, but how much?
Estimates of gaming revenue going to city range from $16M to $168M
The City of Toronto will consult with residents about the potential development of a casino, though it is not yet clear precisely how much revenue could be generated for the city if the concept were to move forward.
The executive committee agreed Monday night to arrange for public consultations to be held in the months ahead.
But there are still big questions about how much money a Toronto-based casino would generate and how much of that would wind up in the hands of the city.
Critics say they need more details about the numbers in order to form an opinion on the casino issue.
"If I could understand the real numbers, I could make a determination as to whether or not the good jobs we lose are worth the bad jobs we’re going to get," said Coun. Adam Vaughan, who spoke at the Monday night meeting but is not a member of the executive committee.
Rod Phillips, the president and CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., said Tuesday that the process of determining the "hosting fees" and other compensation for Toronto involves negotiation with city staff.
Based on what he saw take place at Monday’s council meeting, Phillips said he believes the city is ready to begin that discussion.
"I think the discussion of the benefits makes a lot of sense and I think that started frankly yesterday," Phillips told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning on Tuesday.
According to a report presented by the city manager to the executive committee, the expected hosting fees — the portion of gaming revenue that is distributed to a city home to an OLG facility — could be anywhere from $16 to $168 million annually, depending on whether a casino or "integrated entertainment complex" is built.
City Manager Joe Pennachetti said he wants that range to be more refined before public consultations get underway.
And he wants the public to let the city know more about their expectations for the kind of revenue they want to see flowing into city coffers.
"If you are hesitant on having a casino, what amount of revenue do you believe is necessary for you to say yes to a casino if you’re sitting on the fence," Pennachetti said on Monday night.
With a report from the CBC's Lorenda Reddekopp