Council wagers bet on city slot casino

Wednesday, September 19, 2012   by: Jamie LyleNorth Bay City Council passed the contentious motion of the addition of a slot casino to the city Monday evening.

The issue, with many for and against the casino, saw numerous presenters and points of view expressed in the council meeting.

Numerous points and concerns were aired but the weight of the perceived tourist benefit and 5 percent revenue share to the city gave council little pause to the concerns of the social costs of the facility.

In this case, the casino, to be centered around approximately 300 slot machines, had many definitions amongst the presenters.

Mayor Al McDonald says the city plans to proceed carefully and while the issue divides many residents, it is important that the community come together in this regards.

“Obviously, staff has to sit down to create a working group to meet with OLG to meet with the proponents as to what their proposing so that can come back to council for consideration” say McDonald.

While many specifics, including location, have yet to be determined, the ongoing process has cleared its hurdles with the municipality while no date has been set for it to commence operations.

During the deliberation process, council wanted it to be known that the casino would not likely consist of the table games, entertainment acts or races often associated with these facilities.

Instead, they pointed out that the facility would be centered around electronic gaming devices such as slot machines.
Councillor Sarah Campbell, the only member of council that voted against the motion, was adamant that she felt she represented many voices in the community that were against the casino and cited studies arguing that the facility has a huge economic cost to the community necessary for it to operate and that it could indeed, in time, reduce employment in the city.

“It takes a gargantuan amount of money that has to be put into a casino for virtually no return” Campbell says.

Other councillors cited numerous concerns during the 'slot talk' but all felt it was in the best interests of the city to allow a casino to set up within its boundaries.

Councillor George Moroosis was quick to point out that Callander Mayor Hec Lavinge and Bonfield Mayor Bill Vrebosch had both expressed an interest for the facility to be brought to their cities, along with the jobs that come with it.

“Really, what it's about is that we need to have some control over the situation,” Maroosis says.
“It's the best of a bad deal," he says.
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