London Chamber puts support behind expanded casino application
13 Jun 2012
The London Chamber has filed the attached letter to the Chair and CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in support of London's bid to host the expanded casino operation designated for Zone SW4.
"It's our view that there is going to be an expanded casino operation in this zone in any event and therefore it should quite rightly be situated in London. We can ill afford to see an expanded operation being located outside of London's City limits nor can we afford to lose the significant cash contribution the existing Western Fair District's Casino operation delivers to the city coffers each year" ...said Chamber CEO, Gerry Macartney
June 13th 2012
Mr. Paul Godfrey, Chairman of the Board of Directors,
Mr. Rod Phillips, President and CEO
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)
4120 Yonge Street,
Re: Expanded Gaming Initiatives for Ontario in London
Please allow this letter to serve as an endorsement of the Western Fair District as a potential site for the government (through OLG) to deliver its expanded gaming initiative in what is now described as Zone SW4 which includes the City of London, Middlesex County, the City of St. Thomas, and Elgin County.
The London Chamber of Commerce applauds the Government of Ontario's initiative to modernize gaming in Ontario with an increase on customer focus through the expansion of regulated private sector delivery of lottery and gaming, with oversight by OLG.
With private partners responsible for all operating and capital costs associated with the day-to-day operations of the new/expanded site and OLG as the "gate keeper" of all customer data, we are convinced that the London Zone SW4 application is the best possible scenario for the government's consideration.
As the regional economic hub for Southwest Ontario, London is best equipped to manage and promote the expansion of Ontario's gaming initiative in this zone. And, while we recognize there are some minimal risks associated with this expansion, we are also convinced that revenues generated from the expansion would be more than enough to allay those concerns.
It is well known that London has been one of the hardest hit communities in the province as it relates to job losses particularly in the manufacturing sector. London's most recent unemployment numbers continue to lag behind the rest of the country at 8.3% (Canadian average 7.3%). Based on these statistics alone, the impact of new casino based jobs resulting from tables and other gaming opportunities cannot be overstated.
Add to this the potential opportunities for our local businesses through joint marketing (e.g. hotels, restaurants, retail etc.) and the obvious contribution in direct and indirect taxes to the City of London coffers and the argument for London as "the" site becomes more and more compelling.
The related impact of construction jobs on taxes and assessment for the City of London
simply add to the argument that London is the best choice for the expanded gaming initiative not to mention the trickle down impact of the additional funds that would be provided from OLG to the Ontario Government.
We respectfully submit these recommendations are economically sound and critically necessary for London's future. We also would urge that they are in the best interests of Ontario and its future economic position in the country.
Gerry Macartney, CEO
London Chamber of Commerce
Copies: The Board of Directors London Chamber of Commerce, the City of London, Mayor and Council, Grant Hopcroft, Director Intergovernmental Affairs City of London, MPPs Bentley, Matthews, Armstrong