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New OLG plan means no casino in Waterloo Region: Milloy
Residents waiting for a casino in Waterloo Region shouldn’t hold their breath.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. announced Thursday that it’s taking bids for companies looking to operate gaming facilities across the ‘west GTA’ region – meaning Grand River Raceway in Elora, the OLG casino in Brantford and slot machines at the Mohawk and Flamboro Downs racetracks.
In response to the news, Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy issued a press release saying he welcomed the news “that there will not be a new gaming site in Waterloo Region” and OLG will instead focus on gaming in Elora.
“Today’s decision reflects the views of many put forward during this debate, and at the same time supports our horse racing industry,” he said.
The issue of building a casino in Waterloo Region made headlines earlier this year when Woolwich Township councillors approved pursuing a facility.
Had one been built, it would likely have been located either on Shantz Station Road in Breslau or on King Street near the St. Jacobs outlet mall.
Kitchener and Waterloo councillors voted against building a casino in their cities, while Waterloo Region councillors voted against building one anywhere in the region – although Woolwich contended that the region didn’t have a say in the matter.
Woolwich Mayor Todd Cown says he’s “disappointed” by the OLG decision, but says he’s glad it was made on the basis of what’s best for Ontario’s harness industry rather than due to the feelings of regional councillors.
“The decision that was made was in no means anything to do with what the region had requested as far as them being able to have that trump card to stop this,” he tells CTV News.
However, the OLG's announcement doesn't close the door on a casino in Waterloo Region forever.
OLG officials tell CTV News they will eventually seek a single owner for the four 'west GTA' facilities, and that new owner could potentially pick new gaming locations within the region -- albeit only with the support of the host community and the province.
The OLG is currently seeking proposals for a new gaming facility in Collingwood or Wasaga Beach.