Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tories Want to Scrap Liberals' Plans for More Casinos and Online Gambling

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tories Want to Scrap Liberals' Plans for More Casinos and Online Gambling

Article excerpt

Scrap plans for casinos, online gambling: PCs

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TORONTO - Ontario should scrap its "empire-building" plans for more casinos and online gambling and focus instead on bolstering the horse-racing industry, the Progressive Conservatives said Thursday.

They wouldn't reinstate the slots-at-racetracks program that brought in $345-million a year if they formed the next government, the Tories said.

But race operators, who are still reeling from the Liberals' decision to cancel the program, should be able to buy existing slot operations at "fair market value."

It could save an industry that employs about 60,000 people, the party said in its so-called "white paper" on rural and agricultural affairs.

Shelving the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.'s plans for online gambling and building 29 new casinos in places like Toronto won't cost the province new revenue or new jobs, Opposition Leader Tim Hudak argued.

The province still needs a "pro-jobs agenda" that will re-ignite the economy and draw investment in the face of a $12-billion deficit, but more gambling is not the solution, he said.

"I think in fact closing down racetrack slots across this province is going to compound that problem by tossing 65,000 people out of work," Hudak said.

He also slammed the province's plans to set up online betting by the end of the year, which the governing Liberals say will bring in much-needed money.

It's a waste of taxpayers' dollars, Hudak said.

"I just think that what the Wynne government is doing is not a jobs plan, it's a tax plan," he said. "And I think it's an effort to increase taxes that will result in about 65,000 job losses across our province."

Gambling should be handed over to private operators, with the government acting as a regulator only, he said.

But that would also eliminate a large source of revenue for the province, said New Democrat Taras Natyshak.

Hudak is talking out of both sides of his mouth, he said.

"In one breath, he says he wants to stop the government from ramming casinos into communities that don't want them," said Natyshak, whose party opposes the OLG's casino expansion plans. …

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