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Toronto casino report calls for half of revenues, among 43 conditions

TORONTO, Ont. – Toronto should get half the revenues generated by a new casino and convention centre if it approves the controversial project, a new report by municipal staff says.

City manager Joe Pennachetti released the report Monday, saying it is only meant to inform council’s decision.

Click here to read the full city manager’s report.

He gave two options — either they should say no to a casino or move ahead with a conditional yes.

Pennachetti said whether Toronto says yes or no, there will be a casino in the Greater Toronto Area and the city will be impacted.

The report says if there is a downtown casino the minimum hosting fee the city should get is $100-million.

Coun. Adam Vaughan said the numbers do not add up.

“The only gravy train running in this city anymore is one going straight to Las Vegas and with these numbers, it might as well be gold plated. I mean, it’s absurd.”

Vaughan said one of the recommendations in the report — a 50-50 hosting fee split between the city and the province — has already been shot down.

“And we’re going to get a hosting fee 10 times higher than any other town in Ontario. It’s just nonsense. These are hypothetical projections, based on a set of fantasy numbers.”

Coun. Janet Davis said they still need to know more details on what the OLG would offer the city.

“Telling us now whether or not they accept the conditions laid out by the city manager.”

The report does not say which way the city should roll the dice but outlines 43 conditions if council says yes to a casino.

Many are saying the city should put off any decision until more questions are answered.

“We welcome the views contained in the Toronto city manager’s report,” Rod Phillips, president and CEO of OLG said in a statement.

“OLG is currently reviewing the Municipality Contribution Agreement to ensure the principles of fairness and equal treatment govern this formula, which will be the same for all host communities across the province.”

Prior to the release of the report, Mayor Rob Ford penned an open letter touting the economic benefits of having a casino in Toronto.

But Coun. Mike Layton said the city manager’s report does not paint a true picture.

“The fact is this is a fictional report that doesn’t have any real substantive numbers in it.”

The city manager said a downtown casino or at the Canadian National Exhibition would add about $1-billion to the city’s annual GDP.

But the president of the CNE said a casino would destroy them.

“We can’t survive on the grounds with a massive casino.”

Meanwhile, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said it would create as many as 11,000 construction jobs.

“That’s on top of the 10,000 permanent jobs, folks,” Ford said. “That’s great news for Toronto and Ontario.”

The executive committee will discuss the report next week.

The report will be considered by the executive committee at its meeting next week.

Council will vote on whether to proceed with a casino at the special meeting in May.