Is The Casino Issue Alive Again?




Is the casino issue rearing its head in Ottawa again?

A prominent Ottawa lobbyist has been kicking around Queen’s Park working for a U.S. commercial gambling outfit. Where that leads? Who knows?

Many locations are available for an Ottawa casino. Two immediately come to mind.

There are all kinds of possibilities for development at the new LeBreton Flats project though no one has said that a casino is being considered. The Ottawa Senators were part of a group that wanted to bring a casino to the Canadian Tire Centre in 2013. That was shot down by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson who made Sens owner Eugene Melnyk furious by his decision.


Photo above: Could the casino issue be back in Ottawa?


There’s no evidence that Melnyk is associated with the lobbying at Queen’s Park.

What we do know is that LeBreton is being developed in part with a new Senators arena and the old Canadian Tire Centre requires some kind of re-use or demolition in the future.

The city lobby registry has no evidence of anyone pumping for a casino there except Melnyk in 2013. That shows little except that Melnyk was interested three years ago. Does that interest continue? Hard to say.

Certainly a casino would be a great source of revenue for Melnyk and his hockey club that is experiencing some attendance problems recently.

So what is to be taken from all this?

That an Ottawa lobbyist is at Queen’s Park pumping for a major U.S. gambling entity. That is all.



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3 thoughts on “Is The Casino Issue Alive Again?

  1. That would be a very tidy move for the CTC to segue into a casino. Not to mention the boost for Melnyk and the corresponding kick in the pants for Watson.

    One of the questions would be timing – would the CTC be available if and when a casino is looking for a home?

  2. Please tell me this ain’t so. Does no one do their homework?

    Please read the long-term research on casinos as a business model, by professor Robert Williams, professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Coordinator, Alberta Gambling Research Institute, University of Lethbridge.

    Putting aside the social issues, this is a poor idea; you have to negotiate with a criminal enterprise, and we all know the City is not the world’s best negotiator; at a maximum, maximum, the return could be approximately five per cent. The money doesn’t actually come from the casino, but from the shops and restaurants that surround the casino.

    How can we protect ourselves from such financially avaricious people, such as Melnyk and politically avaricious people such as Jim Watson?

  3. We have done quite well without a casino. The social impacts are well known. There are slots on Albion Rd and for those who want more there is the other side of the river. And based on the analysis above there is very little in it for the city vis a vis revenue. If Melnyk can’t make a go of it without the casino, then so be it.


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