Mayors of Canadian cities plead with province to reopen poker rooms
By Bob Garcia
Mayors of various cities across Ontario are asking the province’s Premier, Doug Ford, to reconsider the 50-person capacity limit of casinos across the province, many of which have poker rooms. With 17,000 employees in the gaming industry out of work across the province, many believe it’s time.
The mayors of Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, London, Chatham-Kent, Windsor, and a number of other cities are asking the Premier, Minister of Finance, Minister of Health, and Chief Medical Officer of Health to review and consider the gaming industry’s proposed measures. The proposal would allow for an increase in the cap on patrons allowed on the property while promoting health and safety.
“We want to open in a safe responsible manner,” notes Paul Burns, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association. “We think we can do that. With higher capacities than fifty people, but not huge capacities. We’re still talking very very reduced numbers.”
But a number of casinos near Toronto have indicated they will reopen September 28th, meeting the 50-customer limit.
The Premier has made it clear his government is not going to expand beyond fifty, given the way the health factors have turned negatively in the province,” said London Mayor Ed Holder, whose city is home to 300 casino jobs and a brand-new property. “I can’t disagree with the Premier.”
Many casinos in the province have poker rooms, including one of the region’s most popular ones in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Should cap limits be increased, it’s still extremely unlikely that poker rooms would reopen from the get-go.