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ED Gambling Ek

ED Gambling Ek

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Published by Dave Vachon

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Published by: Dave Vachon on Jun 15, 2012
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top story Council will debate issue Monday says mayor Gambling debate begins in QW Ernst Kuglin QMI

Agency Quinte West's top politician wasn't joking when he said the city was interested in a gambling facility. A recommendation to support the proposal is going to city council Monday. “Personally I don't have a problem with it, but it will be there for council to discuss the idea,” said mayor John Williams. City council is also expected ask the Ontario Gaming and Lottery Commission to expand the local gaming zone to include all of Quinte West. Right now only a small portion of the city — a chunk of land between Belleville and Wallbridge Loyalist Road north of Hwy. 401 — is included in what's known as the E2 zone. CAO Gary Dyke says the city has until July 4 to submit the expansion request to the OLG. Monday's recommendation also proposes holding a public meeting in conjunction with the July 16 council meeting in order to get a sampling of public opinion. “Were going to need reaction from the public. If it's favourable, then we'll send the OLG a resolution of support,” said Williams. Dyke added a letter supporting a gaming facility has to be submitted to the OLG prior to the release of request for proposals this fall. Quinte West's submission to the OLG won't stop there. If council sends the letter of support, city staff will go one step further and identify potential sites for a gambling facility. “This will inform potential operators/investors of development opportunities,” said Dyke. City staff spoke with their counterparts in Gananoque about the impacts of a gambling facility on that municipality. Dyke says the casino there has been beneficial to the municipality. “It's increased the number of businesses, provided employment opportunities and increased tourism-related businesses,” he said. Dyke added there's been no increase in crime, or an increased demand on social services in Gananoque related to the operation of the gambling facility. Municipalities stand to earn some serious revenue from gambling facilities. Host municipalities currently receive five per cent of the gross revenues for

facilities with less than 450 slot machines. They earn two per cent from facilities that have over 450 of the machines. If table games are included, host municipalities receive five per cent of the gross revenue for the entire facility. Dyke says the revenue formula is currently under review. The OLG is hosting a meeting next Thursday detailing how revenues will be shared under its new operating program. There are four gaming zones in eastern Ontario. The Belleville-Quinte West zone is the only one that does not have a gaming facility.

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