After a year of contentious debate, Toronto City Council has voted overwhelmingly to kill a proposed multibillion-dollar downtown casino.
The 40-4 vote occurred at a special meeting called by a majority of councillors after Mayor Rob Ford, an outspoken advocate of the casino, had postponed a vote while he tried to wrest for the city a larger share of the casino’s potential revenue from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Proponents believed it would take a minimum of C$100 million to persuade council to back the plan. But after City Manager Joe Pennachetti released new figures last month showing the city would be paid at most a $40 million hosting fee, Ford tried to cancel the vote outright, declaring the proposed casino “dead.”
The administration had sought upwards of C$150 million a year from the OLG, a sum far exceeding the normal hosting fee paid to the rest of the province. A final sum was never formally agreed, but the OLG supported the principle of a substantially larger fee for Toronto. But when other cities protested, the plan was ordered off the table by Premier Kathleen Wynne.