By Preeteesh Peetabh Singh
If you find blackjack too complicated to understand, you can definitely go for casino war. An easy card game where your possibility of winning is as promising as the dealer’s! The only time you panic is when there is a tie and you have to declare a war to win.
A similar kind of war is going on around the construction of a brand new mega casino in Toronto.
MGM Grand, Caesars Entrainment and Las Vegas Sands are the companies competing against each other to get their feet ahead towards opening a massive casino in Toronto. Randy Morton, president of MGM’s Bellagio; Kevin Laforet, chief executive of Caesars Windsor; and Todd McCarty, human resources chief at Sands visited George Brown college (GBC) on March 12 to speak about the career opportunities in the hospitality sector and casino industry.
Morton, who is also an alumni of GBC, said, “The casino has a potential to create about 10,000 jobs. 30 per cent of these jobs will be gaming related whereas non-gaming sector will cover 70 per cent.”
MGM and Cadillac-Fairview have partnered with 50 per cent stakes each in their bid for an integrated casino in GTA, with a preference on the exhibition place site. “It’s going to be a very exciting time for Toronto in the near future.” said Morton.
McCarty backed Morton’s comment by saying that, “It will not only bring in hospitality jobs, but also create jobs for IT, communications, finance and operations.”
All three executives ducked questions on No Casino Toronto – an anti-casino group of concerned individuals in the city who claim the casino will be detrimental for Torontonians.
The No Casino Toronto movement has gained momentum with people from different sections supporting the cause. They believe that the casino would have a devastating impact on local restaurants, bars, hotels and theatres. It would additionally have negative social impacts, including problems like gambling, bankruptcies, crime, traffic gridlock, and parking problems.
According to www.nocasinotoronto.com, the companies budding for the casino are ether in losses or debts, and their job creation claims are baseless and needs some scrutiny. MGM for instance is has not recorded profit for the last three years; Cesars Entertainment has a $6 billion debt payment due in 2013 and Las Vegas Sands is around $10 billion in debt in addition to being investigated for bribery and money laundering.
“There has already been widespread gaming over the years in Ontario and the communities have had some positive experiences, the crime rates does not increase; the gaming addiction, experts will tell you, has stabilized over the last few years,” said the vice president of Canadian Gaming Association, Paul Burns. He defended the Toronto casino plan by saying that, “Access to gaming today is everywhere, getting on your laptops, getting on the bus to Windsor, or Rama or Niagara or driving to Woodbine. This is not a new product offering, what is new is the way it is being presented.”
Talking about parking problems and gridlock, Burns said that city council is the best judge to decide when and where the casino will be located so that these problems may not arise.
City council will be voting on the fate of the casino in April.