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London Councillors raise questions about Gateway's casino pl

Source:sites edit:casino time:2017-12-13

A Canadian casino giant has provided an inside look into a proposed east end casino and hotel complex — fully equipped with an eight-storey hotel and an entertainment strip with restaurants, slots machines and table games.

However, city councillors raised a string of questions on Monday — many left unanswered.

Gateway casino

Phase one would maintain the existing operational structure and focus on building the casino, a public gallery, a strip for food and beverage services supported by a back of house section. There would also be room for game tables and 1,200 slots machines — a jump from the current 730. (Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited)

Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited officials outlined to the city's Strategic Priorities and Policy committee a possible floor plan for an extension to the slots at the Western Fair District. The floor plan is only an example of what could pop up in the east end should the project get the go-ahead.

The casino giant is currently operating under a lease that expires in 2020 at a rate of $6.2 million a year.

Rob Mitchell, director of public affairs, said if the project isn't approved for the Western Fair District, it will operate elsewhere in the city.

"London is the market for us," he said. "The kind of entertainment we offer here, we source locally from the community and this is a great area known for its agriculture and food and farming community."

The $140-million two-phase development project would unfold over two years:

Gateway casino

Phase two would implement new and smaller grand stand that would seat 300 to 400 people. It would also build an eight-storey, 125 bedroom hotel for casino goers. The casino and hotel complex would add an additional 700 jobs to its current 300 employees. (Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited)

Phase one would maintain the existing operational structure and focus on building the casino, a public gallery, and a strip for food and beverage services. There would also be room for about 50 game tables and 1,200 slots machines — a jump from the current 730.

Phase two would see a smaller grandstand and an eight-storey, 125 bedroom hotel for casino-goers. The casino and hotel complex would add an additional 700 jobs to its current staff of 300 employees.

Questions raised

Although the committee didn't make a final decision -- only voting to accept the delegations from Gateway and Ontario Lottery and Gaming officials -- councillors raised many questions related to:

Casino parking: Gateway officials said 12 acres of land would be designated for surface parking and further development. The proposed demolition of an existing building would help add more parking.

The Raceway: will continue to operate under Western Fair staff, who will have the final say on its fate.

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