She also said the MSIFN is continuing to explore development ideas for the Seven Mile Island property it owns, but doesn’t believe it’ll be home to a new casino.
“I think our people would like to see something to complement gaming, not depend on it,” said Chief LaRocca, hinting at perhaps a hotel, cultural centre or something to do with cultural tourism.
Added the chief: “We’ve told the OLG and (potential operating companies) we would welcome any development and we have strategic planning for game-related and non-gaming-related development in our community.”
As for redevelopment and expansion of a new gambling facility in either Ajax or Pickering, as well as the introduction of a massive new casino centre at Woodbine, the chief admitted that “cannibalization” remains on the minds of the MSIFN.
“It has been an ongoing concern ... we’ve always been vigilant on that issue,” said Chief LaRocca. “We hope it’s not as detrimental as anticipated.”
The new partnership won’t make its winning plan public just yet, said Chuck Keeling of Great Canadian Gaming.
“We are eager and excited,” he said, but, “in a proposal this large and complex, there a lot of vested stakeholders,” and it is important to brief them on plans and get feedback before making the details public.
“We do have a vision for the GTA marketplace, and, at this place, we don’t want to speak to any of the details, which include preferential locations,” for casino sites, said Keeling, promising details “soon.”
Any gaming relocations by the partnership would require a business case and support from the new host community, OLG and Ontario’s finance minister.
OLG has said the deal will earn the partnership at least $72 million a year, plus up to 70 per cent of gambling revenue, but only after OLG has earned a predetermined annual cut.
Last fall, Tony Bitonti, an OLG spokesperson, said “there’s a lot of interest out there” from bidding teams looking to operate the three GTA casinos.
Whichever partnership is chosen, stressed Mr. Bitonti at the time, must assume the labour contracts associated with the casinos in the bundle. The Great Blue Heron has about 1,100 employees and is unionized.
The employees will be guaranteed one year of employment at their current position by the new service provider, he said.
The Great Blue Heron currently has 60 table games and 535 slot machines.