Ottawa Councilors in the dark about adding More Slots at Rideau
Rights to 750 new slot machines at Rideau Carleton Raceway baffling Ottawa’s city councilors.
Ottawa city councilors were confounded last week by a surprising turn of events. The same could be said just two weeks prior. Major files aren’t delivering on what many councilors thought to be inked in stone, so to speak.
Earlier this month, the city was expecting a lofty cheque for $1 million from the Rideau Transit Group (RTG) when it was determined that its $2 billion light rail system would not be completed by the intended deadline of May 24, 2018. That was the agreement, after all. Miss the deadline, and the city gets a cool million.
When RTG admitted that the deadline would not be met, no payment was forthcoming. As it turns out, there was a tiny little loophole in the contract. So long as RTG stated that the LRT would not be completed in time – or even insinuated that it might not be complete – 6 months prior (Nov 24, 2017), then that penalty would be waived.
Most of the city’s leaders had no clue that RTG could get out of it so easily. Last month, even the Mayor was boasting about the 7-figure cheque destined for Ottawa’s coffers. It wasn’t until all their lawyers got together and underscored the fine print that the truth of the matter came out. No cheque was coming, and the deadline would not be met.
New Slot Machines at Raceway – Here We Go Again!
City councilors are reeling again this week. Not all of them, but the majority, it would seem. This time, it’s over the allegedly clandestine addition of up to 750 new slots at the Rideau Carleton Raceway, following its ongoing expansion.
Numerous members of the council were under the impression that the renewed contract with Rideau Carleton Raceway would solidify the facility’s existing cap of 1,250 slot machines. Yes, expansion was on the menu, but expanding the number of video slots was not. Or was it?
Mayor Jim Watson believes so. He expressed no surprise whatsoever over the news that the expansion would come with a cap increase of 750, bringing the total machines allowed to 2,000.
“It was always my understanding that the cap was for the existing sites,” said the Mayor.
Councilor Scott Moffatt is Mayor Watson’s representative on the community’s gambling committee. He wasn’t surprised either, telling the press, “I don’t see where it wasn’t obvious that we were going to have more (slot machines)”.
Everyone Else Baffled By New Slots Cap
Watson and Moffatt were alone in their opinions of the situation. Other Ottawa City Councilors, including (but not limited to) David Chernushenko, Diane Deans, Jeff Leiper and Tobi Nussbaum, were baffled by the realization.
Clearly, there’s a palpable lack of communication within the city’s leadership and planning departments. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) has the final authority to grant or reject any application for new slot machines, but the city must first approve of it.
Apparently, they did just that in a September 2017 vote that endorsed the expansion plan. Most of the councilors thought they were expediting the expansion, not signing off on a cap increase. The city’s legal staff confirmed that the cap increase was indeed part of the deal.
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