Council formally kills possibility of a Toronto casino

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Spectators burst out cheering Tuesday as city council voted overwhelmingly to reject a new casino in Toronto and to oppose expanded gaming facilities at Woodbine Racetrack.

The 38-6 vote ended a bitter, year-long debate that fuelled inter-city bickering, divided Toronto council and prompted a slew of major casino players to swoop in with glitzy promises. In the end, it was the province’s refusal to meet Mayor Rob Ford’s revenue-sharing demands that sapped the last bit of strength from pro-casino forces.

“Hosting a casino in Toronto that does little to address Toronto’s financial needs and simply makes the provincial government richer is not in the best interests of Toronto,” Mayor Ford told council. “The province wants money for nothing. They are not going to put out one red cent into the development of a new convention and entertainment complex. The financial risk will be entirely on the private sector; they’re not willing to accept a single drop of political risk. Once again, they’ve asked the council to battle it out so the premier doesn’t get her hands dirty.”

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