Kenora might have a new casino venue in the foreseeable future if Gateway Casinos & Entertainment achieves its plans for transforming former Abitibi mill site. The community and Making Kenora HOME oppose the potential gambling complex with a petition that has been in circulation for quite a while. November 12 is scheduled to see a City Council meeting and the presentation of the petition.
Expressing one’s opinion through a petition could show the true magnitude of the community support or opposition. In Kenora’s case, a casino complex overseen by Gateway Casinos might be a polarizing topic, with an actual picture painted next Tuesday. The organization Making Kenora HOME, giving voice to local agencies, religious organizations, and members of Kenora wants to make sure that locals have a say when it comes to the approved casino complex project.
Make Kenora HOME Petition
It could be recalled that back in 2012, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation revealed the positive impact a casino complex built in the area could have on the community. A casino could boost the local economy and ensure that city coffers are regularly filled in many ways. It could happen through quarterly or annual allocations of the gaming revenue or giving back to charity organizations.
It could also offer steady employment to many locals. The 2012 projections were that a new casino location would offer 90 individuals the local job they have been looking for, eliminating the possibility of them traveling to a neighboring town. Wages were projected to reach CA$40 million, in addition to the CA$6 million going straight to the local coffers and then being reinvested in Kenora.
OLG launched the modernization process in order to introduce something new to the local gaming field. In 2016, Gateway Casinos managed to outbid all rivals for the North Gaming Bundle swelling its price to CA$79 million. This bundle gave it the right to manage OLG Slots at Western Fair District, Clinton Raceway, Dresden Raceway, Hanover Raceway, and Woodstock Raceway.
Pros and Cons of Casino Complex
Moreover, it also obtained control over OLG Casino Point Edward, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, and OLG Slots at Sudbury Downs. North Bay and Kenora were the two cities ready to welcome casino operation for the very first time. Projections are that the new location could attract upwards of 700,000 individuals on an annual basis.
Now the local organization is worried about the impact a casino might have down the road. They highlight the prospect of property value drop in the casino area, as well as increased problem gambling rates on a local scale. Moreover, a legal dispute between the local Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation on one hand and Gateway Casinos, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation on the other.
The First Nation wants to eliminate Gateway Casinos’ license for operation and instead receive the chance to once again manage gambling operation in the area. It could be recalled over the decade between 1994 and 2004 when the tribe oversaw Golden Eagle Casino. November 12 is about to see the next City Council meeting reviewing the petition opposing the transformation of Abitibi mill’s land.