Councilor Warns Hard Rock Casino Deal Disregards Health Concerns

Publish: 21.05.2017

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)’s decision to accept the $320 million bid for Rideau Carleton Raceway from the Hard Rock corporation has caused plenty of media attention over the past seven days.

Controversy

The Ottawa Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk was the first one to publicly speak of his discontent over such a decision he claims to be controversial.

Councilor Keith Egli join the critics’ side claiming that Ottawa’s health concerns over a new casino have been disregarded. Egli claims OLG snubbed measures to prevent problem gambling initially proposed back in 2013 by the city council, claiming that the province’s gaming agency did not include the council’s recommendation in their operating agreement with Hard Rock Group.

“We’re elected officials. We speak on the behalf of our community, and I think in some ways it was disrespectful,” Keith Egli, one of 17 councillors who voted to request the measures, said.

City council recommended in new casino operator applies the total of ten measures OlG now claims have been taken seriously.

“During the procurement process, the agency put the recommendations in a ‘data room’ for all pre-qualified proponents to review”, the OLG stated.

Five recommended points from the total of ten stand out in particular:

  • Eliminate casino loyalty programs
  • Prohibit automatic teller machines (ATM) on the gambling floor
  • Prohibit casino credit and holding accounts
  • Reduce maximum bet size
  • Mandate a daily loss maximum

Hard Rock Promises to Take Necessary Action

Hard Rock chairman, Jim Allen, underlined the company’s social responsibility, vowing to work closely with OLG and different community groups to make sure health issues are dealt with and compulsive gambling programs are adopted.

“Everyone has their vices, but when it comes to gaming, it is really important for us working in these facilities to show compassion to the situation,” Allen said.