Council ups ante on gambling at Woodbine
After a long day of debating, city councillors voted 25-19 in favour of expanding gaming at Woodbine Racetrack.
The vote happened on Wednesday, meaning the complex in Rexdale is one step closer to becoming a full-fledged casino.
Mayor John Tory was vocal about his support, saying it’s not about increased gambling, but increasing jobs. “My own interest will diminish if the level of investment and jobs that goes beyond the gaming activities is very small, and as that decreases so will my interests in seeing us having any expansion of gaming,” Tory mentioned during the debate.
Tory has spoke up about it in the past, saying he supports the expansion of the site becoming a large entertainment complex, which council approved as well.
Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong, and councillor James Pasternak were among those who voted against the expansion.
“The weightless conditions that are being attached to the reports almost signify that something is going to change, that this is going to make it better. I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to make it better,” councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said during the debate.
The motion to limit gambling at Woodbine to 18 hours a day did not pass.
A staff report found that with the addition of 2,000 slot machines and 300 gaming tables at Woodbine would bring in $12.5 million in revenue every year, in addition to the $15 million it already receives.
There’s also talk that if Toronto does scores a casino, an NFL stadium may show up next door to Woodbine shortly after.
Citing “very good sources” that Councillor Rob Ford didn’t reveal, Ford said he’s heard the casino could lead to an NFL stadium being built on the massive Etobicoke property in his ward.
“If they’re going to have an NFL team here, Woodbine is a site that they’d consider building an 80,000-seat stadium, which you’d need to have an NFL team,” he said.
“An NFL team would be great.”