Town of Ajax planning to challenge Pickering casino-resort

The Town of Ajax says it was completely blindsided by an announcement today that its casino was being closed.

News came as Ontario Gaming GTA, in partnership with Great Canadian Gaming, revealed it's received permission from the City of Pickering to move ahead with building permits for a resort-casino located just off the 401.

It would feature slots, tables, hotels, restaurants, film studios and an indoor water park.

"It is not entirely clear if GCG has approval from Minister Charles Sousa or Premier Kathleen Wynne as they have been silent on this issue today. An announcement of this magnitude by GCG without formal approval from the Province is irresponsible and premature," a statement issued by the Town of Ajax reads. "It would be nearsighted and negligent for the Minister of Finance to sign on the dotted line if the location is a gamble, which the Town of Ajax has proven it to be."

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan says the resort, alone, would employ 2,000 staff which would actually represent 1,700 new jobs as existing staff at the Ajax casino transfer over.

The statement concludes:

"We believe that the Ajax Casino remains the best site for an expanded casino because:

    Durham Live has no access to the 401; will result in clogged streets, gridlock and traffic delays.
    Ajax site is one of the most successful gaming facilities in North America, in a location which is primed for expansion, with access to the 401 and 412 highways.
    An expanded Ajax Casino will provide the same job opportunities and economic benefits to Durham Region.
    Ajax Council endorsed a 50% revenue sharing model to key stakeholders, contingent on the casino staying in Ajax.  
    Ajax site will allow continued co-location, operational success and long-term viability of quarter horse racing at Ajax Downs. A Durham Live site could close the racetrack as early as 2019.  

The Town of Ajax will challenge this decision on the grounds noted above. We call on the Premier, Minister and our MPP to provide justification by completing an independent, third party review of the decision to relocate the Ajax Casino."