Comment 83017

By First As Tragedy (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2012 at 10:04:25

Adam Slight, a co-owner of Ottawa Rickshaws, said he thinks he was invited to the evening meeting of city council’s finance committee because of a midsummer blog post he wrote that was cautiously optimistic about the idea.

“As for my own 2 cents, I do know one thing: If a good cas!no were to be built in downtown Ottawa, Ottawa Rickshaws and other entertainment providers downtown would strike j@ckpot,” he wrote. “Many praise the ByWard Market for pursuing a rustic, farmer’s market image — but I doubt these people realize that there has been a significant drop in business in the Market over the past several years. A cas!no would undoubtedly cure this.”

A cas!no would be bad if it were just built to suck money out of problem g@mblers’ pockets, he wrote, but done well it could “be exciting, promote local culture, hire local performers and restaurateurs, and act as an entertainment hub.”

That’s what Slight was thinking about when he heard from the city’s director of economic development, Saad Bashir, inviting him to go to the one meeting where Mayor Jim Watson said the public would be heard on whether Ottawa should have a cas!no. “They were looking for businesses that would be for the idea; that’s my opinion,” he said.

Slight was second on the list of nearly three dozen speakers, which the city clerk’s staff assembles in the order they get requests to speak. He showed up at City Hall and listened to presentations from city officials and executives from the Ontario L0ttery and G@ming Corp., which was asking the city government for its approval to go looking for bidders who’ll make specific proposals on what kinds of cas!nos they’d like to build where.

It was obvious to him that the politicians had already made up their minds; Watson had urged his fellow councillors to give the OLG the go-ahead a week before the meeting, in fact.

“Why were we invited to come give our position if they already knew what they want?” Slight asked.

He listened to OLG chief executive Rod Phillips and policy director Paul Pellizzari and his heart sank. The more he heard, the more a cas!no sounded to him simply like an effort to exploit g@mbling addicts here in Ottawa instead of letting them be exploited at the Lac-Leamy cas!no in Gatineau.

“These are just two fat cats and it’s in their interest to get a cas!no in another city,” Slight said he concluded.

When his turn to speak came, he joined the overwhelming consensus of the public presenters against the cas!no proposal.

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