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Duly Quoted: Paul Godfrey on a Downtown Casino

OLG chair says casinos shouldn't go in residential neighbourhoods—which is why it's fine to have one downtown.

“I live in a residential neighbourhood. It has what I would describe as either single-family homes or townhouses or places where people live. But I wouldn’t describe all of downtown as a neighbourhood. Downtown has stores and offices and places of entertainment and restaurants.”

—Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Chair Paul Godfrey to the Globe and Mail, in an attempt to clarify remarks he made during a speech to the National Club on Tuesday [PDF]. Among his comments: “I gotta tell you, I wouldn’t want [a casino] in my neighbourhood, but at the same time you’re not putting it in a residential area.” Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) quickly condemned those remarks in an open letter to provincial finance minister Dwight Duncan, writing: “These [downtown] communities deserve not only to be recognized by your government and its appointees, but their rights and quality of life deserve the same consideration as Mr. Godfrey’s neighbours and friends.”

Of the locations currently being considered for a Toronto casino, three—Exhibition Place, the convention centre, and the Port Lands—are close to a substantial number of homes or planned residential growth, although not perhaps in a form Godfrey recognizes, since they are primarily condos rather than single family homes.

The first public consultation meeting about a potential casino takes place tonight at City Hall.

CORRECTION: January 21, 2013, 12:07 PM This post originally listed Ontario Place as a possible location for a Toronto casino. It has been changed to Exhibition Place.

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