Representatives from MGM Resorts International are interested in adding a Las Vegas-style casino and entertainment complex to Toronto.
The company, which operates some of Las Vegas's best-known casinos including The Mirage, Mandalay Bay and Bellagio, says it’s willing to invest as much as $6 billion in a Toronto property that could include casino gambling along with shopping and entertainment.
“If all someone is talking about is a room full of slot machines, Toronto could do that on their own, they don’t need us,” MGM spokesman Alan Feldman told CBC Tuesday.
“But if the discussion is going to broaden and going to involve more of a tourism and entertainment focus, that’s where we might step in and there may be an opportunity for us to come to town and invest quite a bit of money.”
Feldman said casinos typically account for about five per cent of the floor space of such entertainment complexes. He also said discussions are in the early stages.
Mayor Rob Ford met with city business leaders on Tuesday and again expressed support for casinos.
The province says the casino question is for the city to decide, possibly through a referendum.
Some council members concerned
Some Toronto council members have already expressed concerns. The mayor's executive committee will examine the casino question in detail starting next month.
Last month the Ontario government announced a plan to revamp its gambling policies, including plans to allow a large Vegas-style casino, possibly in the Greater Toronto Area.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said he hasn't heard about the MGM proposal, but said he's not surprised to see gaming companies expressing interest in doing business in Ontario.
“I would not be surprised were we to have interest from companies based in North America and Europe who have an interest in developing a gambling establishment here in Ontario," he said.
McGuinty also said there will be local consultation on any potential casino project.
"We are not going to put a casino into a community that doesn’t want one.”