Bright lights of a downtown casino are starting to fade
The chickens are coming home to roost on the OLG’s best-laid
plans for a downtown Toronto
Premier Kathleen Wynn says there will be no special deal
that would give Toronto
more of the take from a casino than any other city, and that a standard formula
will be evenly applied to all municipalities with a casino.
That should come as no surprise, but it has to be
disappointing for the OLG and the posse of casino lobbyists who have been
deliberately – obstructively – vague about exactly how much Toronto’s cut will be.
They have done nothing to disabuse casino boosters on city
council - most prominently the Ford Bros. - of the notion that a card trick of
sorts would be performed, producing a windfall far in excess of what could be
expected under the formula used to pay off cities with casinos.
Before the sobering news from the OLG that Toronto’s end would be in the range of $50 to
$100 million (which is still way too high; $40 million, tops, is more like it),
fantastical numbers as high as $200 million were floated.
It was enough to dilate the pupils of some politicians, who
giddily mused about subways built with loot from the shiny gambling hall, a $60,000-a-year
job for anyone who wants to be a blackjack dealer and free ice cream for all
But Wynn’s clarification will take the wind out of the sails
of the peddlers of half-truths and illusion, who must be starting to sweat
about now. The chips aren’t falling their way, when they figured this would be
an easy game to beat.
City councillors on whom they are counting to vote for a
casino are now asking to be dealt out, saying that unless it nets Toronto a lot
more than it will under the formula, they'll keep their hands in their pockets.
And everyone pushing a casino knows the money just isn’t
there, at least for the city.
Here’s all you need to know: The gift of a casino for Toronto, or at least
somewhere in the GTA, is only about shoring up the OLG’s declining revenues, so
it can fatten up the wad (likely wrapped in elastic bands) it hands off to the
It has nothing to do with what is good for Toronto. All this talk of a swell resort and
sushi and jobs, jobs, jobs and suitcases stuffed with cash is
nothing more than a swindle to persuade us that we really need a casino.
So where does it leave the lobbyists who have for months
played the city hall slot machines that were supposed to pay off big, without
ever getting up from their seats?
Ten cents from broke, and with a mess in their pants.