Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs for MGM Resorts International, and Jan Jones, his counterpart with Caesars Entertainment, were in Toronto in September, meeting with city councillors in a bid to drum up support for a large-scale resort casino. MGM favors a location at the city’s waterfront Exhibition Place complex, while Caesars has its eye on the city’s convention center in the downtown area.
Feldman, whose Las Vegas-based company has a small army of local lobbyists and publicists on the case, plus a polling-research firm run by Mayor Rob Ford’s former chief of staff Nick Kouvalis, met with six councillors and planned to meet with a seventh, according to the Toronto Star.
Feldman said MGM wants to build a $3 billion-$4 billion resort with a 1,000-room hotel, convention space, restaurants, entertainment and shopping—a complex that would succeed only if it boosts tourism to Toronto. It would directly create 8,000 new jobs, including 5,000 in construction over three years, Feldman claimed.
MGM’s preferred location is Exhibition Place, possibly with some family-friendly attractions on the Ontario Place side, but the company is willing to consider other downtown locations, he said.
Caesars, meanwhile, would like to convert the city’s convention center to a casino complex.
Several councillors oppose a casino. Others say they are undecided and remained so after their meetings.