NEWS

MGM wants to build casino at Exhibition Place

01/22/2013 05:33 EST | Updated 03/24/2013 05:12 EDT
The first of the big time casino operators arrived in Toronto on Tuesday to pitch its vision of a waterfront gambling resort.

MGM wants to build a casino and resort at Exhibition Place.

"Let me be clear," said MGM CEO James Murren, "in order for Toronto to realize the financial impact and diversity of service we have outlined here today can only be achieved through the integrated resort model — a box casino will not deliver this to Toronto."

What MGM is talking about is a big investment, including $2.4 billion in capital investment alone.

MGM wants to build at Exhibition Place and promised money to revitalize nearby Ontario Place.

Murren believes the CNE could also continue on the site.

But CNE president Brian Ashton disagrees. After building the resort, Ashton says, "My answer is we'll have enough space left for a corn dog stand and a ferris wheel."

It's the final push in the casino debate. After hearing from MGM, the next big player up is the Sands. Caesar's has already shown its proposal of what it would do with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

For many on city council this is all moving too fast.

Coun Mike Layton says "there are still too many questions about what will Toronto get from this."

The city is also conducting a series of public consultations and thousands have responded to an online survey.

Council has to tell the province yes or no to a casino proposal by the spring,

MGM says it won't come where it's not wanted. "If city council votes it down, no harm, no foul, we will move on," said Murren.

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