OLG talks Woodbine Casino in Toronto

Want to play blackjack with a real live dealer in Toronto? Sorry, you can’t. The only casino in Toronto is located at Woodbine Racetrack, and while they do offer a swarm of slot machines and some virtual, electronic table games, you won’t find any live dealers here. At least not yet.

Woodbine Racetrack Casino in Toronto, Ontario

Woodbine Racetrack Casino in Toronto, Ontario – photo NowToronto.com

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) wants to change that, as do the majority of residents in the Rexdale neighborhood, where a full-fledged, resort style Woodbine Casino could be located. The community is in great need of economic stimulus, and the OLG thinks it’s about time for Canada’s largest city to become a major hub for gambling enthusiasts all over the world.

Will there be setbacks? Certainly. Will there be opposition? Of course. The threat of proliferating problem gambling always exists, and anti-gambling crusaders will surely be there to point out the social harms that come with such industrial advancements. But if steps are taken to curb addiction and promote responsibility, a real Woodbine Casino could be a boon for the entire region.

OLG Looks at 3 Casinos in Toronto Area

While Woodbine Racetrack is prime real estate in the OLG’s eyes, they are actually looking to expand three casinos in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The other two locations include Ajax Downs, about 50 miles east of downtown Toronto, and the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino, nearly 100 miles to the northeast on Scugog Island (north of Port Perry).

Getting the Job Done Right

Regulators aren’t just looking to install live dealer table games at these locations. They want to create a genuine, Las Vegas style feel with destination casinos in Toronto – the kinds of casinos vacationers plan week-long trips to. We’re talking luxury hotels, celebrity chef restaurants, A-list entertainment, upscale shopping outlets, spas, golf courses – the works.

With that in mind, they turned to the most well-known competitors in the global gambling industry. According to TheStar, an unnamed source revealed the names of several companies offered a chance to bid for the “bundle” of casinos in Toronto, and they are all top-tier candidates with loads of experience in the development of destination casinos.

Caesars Entertainment is on the list, but OLG could view this company in a negative light, considering it just filed for bankruptcy protection – again. According to a report in the New York Post, Caesars is hoping to win the bid in an effort to convince creditors to support reorganization of the company.

Great Canadian Gaming confirmed it’s request for a proposal from the OLG, and has a good shot at the contract considering it’s already to owner of OLG’s “east” casinos bundle. Other companies named include Asia-based Genting Group, operator of Resorts World casinos, Penn National Gaming, which already operates Casino Rama, and Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun.

Casino a Boon for Woodbine, Rexdale

Downtown Toronto may have a booming economy, but over in Woodbine’s neighborhood of Rexdale, economic stimulus is of key importance. City Hall reported in 2015 that turning the racino into a full-fledged gambling resort – with another 2,000 slot machines and 300 live table games added – could bring between 1000 and 1,400 new jobs to the area, not to mention the inevitable boost in tourism.

Woodbine is considered the perfect location for a Vegas-style casino in Toronto. It’s racetrack is already a popular hub for gambling, there are no traffic issues like those in downtown, and it’s only 5 minutes from the Pearson International Airport.

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