City of Toronto releases report on new casino and convention development in Toronto |
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The City of Toronto today released a report by City Manager Joe Pennachetti, New Casino and Convention Development in Toronto, which the City's Executive Committee will consider at a special meeting commencing on Monday, April 15.
"My report is intended to provide Executive Committee with the results and analysis related to economic development, city building, social, health and fiscal impacts of a new casino while meeting the City's interests," said Pennachetti. "The report lays out in detail the options for Council to consider in deciding whether or not to proceed with a new casino. The most important result to come out of the staff analysis was economic development related and indicates that a casino should be considered in concert with an expanded convention development to move Toronto into the top ten convention destinations in North America."
The City Manager's comprehensive report outlines in detail specific conditions Council may wish to consider if it consents to new or expanded casino facilities in Toronto. Given the complexity of the issue, the report does not provide a definite recommendation but rather outlines two options for Council of voting yes or no to new casino development.
If Council votes yes to new casino development, the report outlines 43 conditions and all necessary approvals by Council to meet Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) requirements. The report includes as part of its conditions calling for the OLG and selected operators to work with the City to meet planning, economic development and infrastructure requirements along with implementing a Toronto Casino Social Contract to ensure investments support the social and economic well-being of the city.
Staff analysis indicates the potential for new casino and convention expansion in the C1 zone and expansion of Woodbine in the C2 zone could result in convention infrastructure of over one million square feet, construction investment of $3.3 to 3.6 billion in Toronto's economy, increased annual GDP of $1.1 billion, more than 11,000 net new construction jobs and nearly 12,000 net new operations jobs.
Downtown (C1 zone)
A critical factor emphasized in the report is that any new casino must include a significant convention development in the C1 zone. Staff analysis indicates that a top-rate convention facility will improve Toronto's competitiveness in the convention and trade show market, attracting over 130,000 additional visitors annually and generating an additional $392 million of direct spending. Construction of a convention and casino development is estimated to generate 6,200 to 7,000 net new construction-related jobs, as well as approximately 10,000 net new operations and convention jobs.
"The potential for this type of facility to further our economic development and city building objectives is significant and is aligned with the City's recently adopted economic development strategy," said Pennachetti. "This will be a key factor for Council to consider in making the difficult decision of whether to consent to a new casino in Toronto."
Analysis by City staff indicates that a convention and casino development in the C1 gaming zone should include an appropriate sized casino that generates the revenues required to meet the City's convention development and hosting fee requirements. Staff analysis also demonstrates the downtown core area and Exhibition Place are potentially suitable locations for a convention centre focused development.
The staff report stresses that a fair hosting fee from gaming revenues is another significant consideration. The City has tabled terms with the OLG that seek a hosting fee equivalent to half the amount of all revenues the Province receives from casino operations in Toronto, but no less than an annual minimum of $100 million. Based on these terms, the City estimates an annual hosting fee from a C1 casino to be approximately $111 to 148 million per year, in addition to property tax revenues of $19 million (based on the assumptions outlined in the report). At the same time, the significant development will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental tax revenues for the provincial and federal governments.
Should Council decide to consent with conditions to a new casino in the C1 zone, OLG and its proponents, in accordance with OLG's standard procedures, will provide specific information on their ability to meet City conditions prior to establishing a new casino site to the City Manager for a report back to Council.
Woodbine (C2 zone)
The report also recommends an expanded gaming facility in the C2 zone to enable the entertainment and retail focus of the existing approved planning framework for Woodbine, and support a revitalization strategy for the area. This use is consistent with broader revitalization plans for the area, approved by Council in 2007.
Based on the terms outlined in the report, the City estimates that the C2 zone hosting fees could range from the current $15 million to a potential of $47 million.
The City Manager's report follows a comprehensive engagement process that included a telephone survey conducted by Environics, public consultation and stakeholder interviews. Full results of the engagement process are included in the City Manager's report.
To view the report, New Casino and Convention Development in Toronto, and for information on how to submit a deputation, go to: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2013.EX30.1.
Pending decisions made at the City's Executive Committee on April 15, the matter will be considered at an upcoming special or regular City Council meeting.
The Backgrounder, New Casino and Convention Development in Toronto, is available at
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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