Doug Ford, the Ontario premier, remains tight-lipped about his plans for reviving the downtown Toronto waterfront.
As recently as five years ago, then-city councillor Ford championed a casino near the waterfront.
And Rod Phillips, then-CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
(OLG), the Ontario monopoly on legal gambling, hoped for a waterfront casino.
Phillips is now in Ford’s cabinet, as environment minister.
But Ford has reason not to act on the current rumours of a revived casino project for the Toronto waterfront.
The casino business across North America has been in stagnation for more than a decade, having long ago saturated the market.
It’s no different in Ontario, where OLG’s revenues grew a mere 0.4 per cent in OLG’s most recent fiscal year, 2016-17, to just under $7.5 billion.
OLG is actually projecting a sizeable 6.8 per cent drop in its net profit contribution to the province in 2018-19, down from last year’s $2.4 billion.
Every Ontarian with an inclination to gamble is already doing so.
A new Toronto-area casino would simply take business from OLG’s 42 existing casinos, the lottery-ticket offerings OLG sells at about 9,800 retailers, and its Play OLG online gaming site.
Oddly enough, among Ford’s best hopes to make good on his vow last month to turn Toronto’s waterfront into “the most spectacular destination anywhere in North America” is to revive his long-ago proposal for a giant Ferris wheel.