By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Hamilton politicians should keep any gaming facility at Flamboro Downs, after Global Spectrum and Live Nation says a downtown gaming facility will hurt their attempts to revive entertainment activities at Copps Coliseum and Hamilton Place, says Councillor Jason Farr.
In a news conference prior to politicians deciding on whether to allow a casino in the downtown core during a special Feb. 14 government issues committee meeting, Farr, who represents the downtown area, read a statement saying Frank Russo, vice-president of business development and client relations for Global Spectrum stated a downtown casino will “directly compete with Copps Coliseum and Hamilton Place.”
Farr stated that if the city agrees to locate a casino in the downtown area, Global Spectrum and Live Nation will look to the city for “contractual relief,” for the city’s subsidy reduction.
The city at the Feb. 13 council meeting endorsed the five-year agreement with Global Spectrum and the Carmen’s Group to take over operating Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facility Inc. facilities.
A consortium, including the Carmen’s Group, LIUNA and local businesses have proposed a $200-million downtown hotel and casino in the core, which they say will inject about $150 million into the city.
Councillors have repeatedly endorsed a motion backing a new gaming facility at Flamboro Downs.
Politicians are scheduled to endorse a motion identifying Flamboro Downs as its preferred location for a gaming facility. In addition, it is asking the province to allow a two-year extension for the operation and for allowing the operator of any gaming facility to expand Flamboro Downs, to accommodate a hotel and restaurants.
Farr said he hoped Global Spectrum’s position will encourage councillors to reiterate their position to keep any gaming facility in Flamborough. He said most politicians were willing to endorse that position.
“It reinforces Flamborough as our option,” said Farr.
But Flamborough councillor Robert Pasuta said with politicians, who were backing the Flamborough option, being flooded with calls and emails about the casino question, some could be changing their minds.