Toronto- July 8, 2015, On Wednesday the Toronto City Council put the Woodbine Casino Expansion to a vote. The results were 25 to 19 for the expansion. The project proposal will integrate the casino with an entertainment complex. To gain approval for the northwest Etobicoke site, the casino had to agree to meet certain conditions. Mayor John Tory supported the casino expansion for economic reasons.
Mayor Tory said, “We voted to bring jobs to a part of the city that desperately needs them. The people of Rexdale and northwest Toronto need jobs, they need good, well-paying jobs and I strongly believe that is what this is going to help to bring about.”
As part of the expansion the casino will add more slot machines and table games. Woodbine Entertainment Group CEO, Jim Lawson, said the vote is very important to the horseracing and breeding industry across the province and in the GTA.
Lawson stated the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation will need to see the proposals in the next couple of months. Once the request of proposals are completed and approval is provided the expansion can move ahead.
The vote by the city was necessary to get the project moving. Not everyone is happy with the decision as some feel Rexdale will be “thrown to the wolves” with more gambling in place. One councilor did not support the vote because her father suffered from an addiction to gambling. These councilors do not want to see the area become a place of addiction versus an economic help.
Councilor Gord Perks dismissed both concerns stating Toronto cannot stop forward motion because some individuals may need help with gambling addiction.
Perks also feels if it is not their city then a neighboring city would be making all the cash.
Two years ago Woodbine did not get approval for the expansion, but the current councilors feel the economic boost is paramount.