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Dealtown Casino Hotel and Retirement Village Initiative

  • MGM lobbying for Toronto casino, resort

    UPI NewsTrack Business

    Published: April 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    MGM lobbying for Toronto casino, resort

    TORONTO, April 17 (UPI) -- Entertainment giant MGM Resorts International has hired a Toronto firm to lobby for creating a major Las Vegas-style casino and resort, city officials said.

    Alan Feldman, MGM's senior vice-president of public affairs, told the Globe and Mail newspaper in a telephone interview the corporation is considering investing as much as $6 billion in a project that could include hotels, a convention center, spas and full casino gaming.

    "It's an amazing market, it's an amazing city," Feldman said. "We'd be prepared to invest an awful lot in the development of the concept."

    MGM has hired the Sussex Strategy Group to lobby on its behalf at the municipal and provincial levels, the report said.

    Rightist Mayor Rob Ford has expressed interest in a major casino development, but has said little about it publicly. At least two motions to examine the pros and cons of the idea are now before city hall committees.

    On the provincial level, Ontario's Liberal minority government favors such a project that would create an estimated 4,000 jobs, the Globe said. 


    Sent from my iPad
    Brian Keenan
     
  • Easter Bunny Delivers Rotten Eggs to CK…

    Easter Bunny Delivers Rotten Eggs to CK…

    Chatham-Kent – April 7, 2012:  The Dealtown Casino and Retirement Village initiative is dead!  Kenny Rogers said it best, “you have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them!”  The Easter Bunny had nothing but rotten eggs for Brian Keenan, the self-appointed Chairman of the Dealtown initiative.  After checking his Easter basket and finding nothing but rotten eggs, he realized that it was time to fold this hand.

    The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was the 9 to 8 vote by Chatham-Kent city council that defeated a simple motion by Councillor Art Sterling to support Keenan’s ambitious Dealtown job creation initiative.  The implications of that vote were more far-reaching then even Keenan, the ultimate optimist and passionate visionary, could have anticipated.  Instead of a strong commitment letter from Las Vegas developer, Paragon Gaming Inc., he received an email on Thursday saying, “we are not in a position to support this (Dealtown Casino Initiative) project.”  Not unexpectedly they went on to say “Paragon may pursue other projects in Ontario.”

    Keenan says, “I don’t blame Paragon’s decision to “cherry pick” the many opportunities being created by OLG’s decision to privatize all of its slots and casino facilities in Ontario.  I do however criticize Mayor Hope and his economic development team for their lack of vision and support.” The initiative, if successful, would have created several thousand jobs for CK and ushered in a period of unprecedented economic development for this dying community.  “I made a very big mistake trusting the mayor and his staff to communicate my plan to transform the Southwestern Regional Centre (SWRC) into a destination resort to the city councillors.”  When the vote came the majority of the CK councillors were simply ill-informed, misinformed or not informed at all. “It’s hard to make great music as a one man band!” says Brian.

    Keenan also misjudged the support, or lack thereof, from the general public and even fellow realtors in the municipality who stood to gain the most from the biggest real estate boom ever to hit this area.

    Last, but not least of all, was the decision by the City to pass on its option to purchase the SWRC from the Ontario government for $1.00.  According to Keenan, this was the wild card that gave CK a major advantage over other communities in Southwestern Ontario who are also looking to reap the benefits of OLG’s modernization plan for the gaming industry in Ontario.

    Here are Keenan’s closing predictions:

    -           The Slots at the Dresden raceway will close by this time next year and the  track will see the last of its horse racing this season;

    -          Mayor Hope and his band of merry men in economic development will lobby the OLG for an expanded gaming centre with more slots and possibly even some table games to be located somewhere in downtown “Chatham”;

    -          The city residents will rebel and fight to keep this mini casino out of the city;

    -          London will be chosen as the primary hub for an expanded gaming centre in OLG’s newly created Southwestern Ontario zone;

    -          Chatham will lose its $650,000 annual gaming subsidy if it doesn’t find a new home for the Dresden slots; and

    -          The future of CK will once again depend on a white knight coming along to save the Navistar facility from demolition.

    In closing Keenan says, “I do want to thank those people who offered me both encouragement and support for this initiative.  I especially want to thank the members of media for sharing my vision with the public fairly, and rather frequently.  Lastly, I want to offer encouragement to others who may have idea’s, concepts or dreams to stand firmly behind your convictions.  Who knows, maybe next year, the bunny may have chocolate Easter eggs filled with jobs in his basket for you, instead of the rotten eggs he left for me.”

    By Brian Keenan
    The X-Chairman of the Dealtown Casino Initiative
    Email :
    Bekeen@Sympatico.ca
    Tel: 519-365-6090

                                                              -30 -

  • Chatham-Kent could be a Big Winner in the OLG Shakeup…

    Dealtown, ON – March 15, 2012:  It came as absolutely no surprise to me that OLG took prompt action to close the three U.S. border slot facilities as step one of their initiative to modernize lottery and gaming in Ontario. The slot-at-track facilities at Windsor, Sarnia and Fort Erie generate annual income per slot machine of $54K, $65K and $74K respectively when the remaining fourteen tracks have a combined average of $182K per annum per slot. Unfortunately, the next three lowest tracks in the program are Clinton, Dresden and Rideau which certainly leaves the future of the slots-at-track programs at these tracks vulnerable to closure.
     
    The three sites being closed have a total of approximately 1600 slots supported by 400 full time workers and 177 part timers.  The good news is that OLG is committed to the relocation of these slots to other centres, tracks or casinos across Ontario where many of these jobs will be recovered.

    From a Chatham-Kent standpoint, all is not lost, yet.  OLG has suggested that the slots at some of these other tracks could be moved to more accessible locations within the host municipalities which in CK’s case likely means somewhere in or around Chatham.  However the 118 jobs currently supporting the 116 slots at Dresden Racetrack are small in comparison to the larger opportunity that exists for our community.

    While OLG has already taken steps to change the flawed and misused Slot-at-Track program, they have also opened the proverbial barn door for new casinos.  Certainly Toronto seems destined to be the host of the next Vegas style glitzy casino.  But more importantly, the door is still open for another major rural resort casino, like the one that I have been promoting for Dealtown. Let me explain why Chatham-Kent could be and should be the next biggest winner in OLG’s modernization plan.

    What most people don’t know is that Casino Rama is the only rural based destination resort casino of the big four in Ontario. It attracts guests from far and wide even though it is not located in a major populous metropolitan area.  In fact, Rama is 14 minutes from Orillia with its tiny population of 30K and 38 minutes (47.5KM) from Barrie with its growing population of 135K.  In fact Rama is at best a 1 ½ hour drive from the populous GTA and I am being extremely generous with the time having driven Hwy 400 many hundreds of times.

    Yet, despite these facts Casino Rama is one of Ontario’s most successful and profitable casinos.  In fact, according to your fourth quarter results for Fiscal 2010 – 2011 it outperformed both Caesars Windsor and the consolidated Niagara properties in gaming revenues based on annual per slot and table numbers.  Rama’s slots averaged $125K per annum while the table games delivered just over a million dollars per table.

    So you ask, “What’s my point?” My point is, if OLG truly wants to maximize its profits then the formula should include at least one more strategically located rural destination casino resorts.


    The Dealtown Casino and Retirement Village that I proposed for southern Chatham-Kent on beautiful Lake Erie where summer begins first and winter ends earlier than anyplace in Ontario, must be your first choice. The land is already engineered; the buildings are ready for transformation and the price tag to open this facility is a quarter of the cost that the Toronto Casino will cost.  In fact, several major private developers with solid track records in Canada are aware of my initiative and are ready to pounce on it given any sign from you that they might not be wasting their time and money.

    Not only is the Dealtown Casino located in Ontario’s warmest climate but it is geographically located within 1½ hours of half of Ontario’s population outside the GTA and its extended Golden Horseshoe area. The 2006 census reported Southwestern Ontario’s population as 2,443,484.  Add to that stunning statistic the hard fact that more than half the Americans who visit or pass through Ontario by car, truck or RV do so via Hwy 401 and must pass by one of the five exits that lead to Dealtown.  And consider the fact that the Bloomfield exit on 401 is less than 9 miles and only two stop signs from the proposed casino resort.  Few people realize that it takes longer to get to downtown Chatham from this exit then it takes to be parked at the Dealtown Casino.

    So cheer up, wake up and speak up if you want to see the 1600 direct and 1400 indirect jobs in our community. Learn how a rural resort casino differs from the Vegas style glass casino.  Yes, OLG has opened the door but already 26 other communities in Ontario have already tossed their hats in the pot.  The first and most critical requirement specified by OLG is that any proposal MUST have the unanimous support of its municipal government!

    How would you rate CK’s chances?

    Brian Keenan
    -30-

  • Where has all the slot money gone?


    Accountability and Transparency by the Racetrack Owners and the Horse Industry will calm the rough waters or open the biggest scandle Ontaio has ever seen!
    My only question is, "can the track owners/operators and the horse people who each receive a10% share of the slot revenue at the tracks provide any reasonable accounting for the proceeds that have been received?". We are living in a day and age of transparency.  If both groups can show the government, the 60,000 strong horse people and the rest of the tax payers in Ontario that the monies paid to them under the program was indeed used to improve the tracks and the industry then everyone might settle down and get back to business as usual. But, and there always is a but, if there is any problem with accountability and transparency then the Liberals may have both cause and concern over the continuation of the slot program. So get those bean counters working on the numbers so that the industry  can show that it is squeaky clean.
  • What makes the Dealtown Casino different...

    What makes the Dealtown Casino different...

    Rural vs City Casino's  

    As the Chairman of the proposed Dealtown Casino Racetrack and Retirement Village I keep being asked, "Where will all the people come from and why?"

    That is a great question! Most people think of casinos as glass buildings in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or in downtown Detroit, Windsor or Niagara Falls when in fact there are ten times the number of casinos in rural locations in both Canada and the USA.

    These rural casinos cater to truckers, RV'ers, folks that hate the big city traffic, nature lover's and so on. In Las Vegas they are referred to as "local casinos" and they are quite different.

    The proposed Dealtown casino is just such a resort. Everything, and I mean everything, will cater to this market. Yes, there will be gaming because that is the attraction. It will be a self-contained resort on the lake with a boardwalk along the Erie bluffs. It will have a large RV park like the old days in Vegas. It will have a large truck stop that caters to the busiest truck route in America. It will have 200 hotel rooms, 100 residential condo time-share unit, golf carts and bikes to tour the 250 acre site and an indoor farmer's market.

    Oh yes, shopping and day care for workers, visitors and locals, restaurants, recreation facilities and free transportation to the surrounding communities of Leamington, Kingsville, Tilbury, Blenheim, Wallaceburg, Dresden, Wheatley and good old Chatham. Does this help paint the picture of this rural resort?

    Maybe, just maybe, it will also be home to the finest Super-racetrack in southern Ontario; a track that replaces the dying old rundown tracks in Windsor, Sarnia, Dresden, and London which are all less than an hour away from Dealtown. Horse owners distraught over losing financial support from the old OLG Slots at Racetrack program will enjoy a new and healthier agreement and a world-class track to showcase Ontario breed stock.

    Don't you worry about there being enough people to make Dealtown a successful resort! If we build it like it should be built, they will come. Don't worry about this resort stealing gamers from Windsor, Niagara, Rama or the new Toronto casino. The new single sport betting opportunity will pack those crystal palace city casinos with more gamblers than they have ever seen. Windsor has already announced that the introduction of their Sports Bet parlor will add another 250 employees and generate $70 million in new gaming revenues.

    Now do you see why I am so excited about bringing a world class resort to Dealtown not to mention that it will take over 3,000 new good paying jobs to run this facility. Can you even begin to imagine how busy me and fellow realtors in Chatham-Kent will be? Can you see the value of homes throughout the region going ballistic from the fifth lowest in Canada to who knows where!

    I am the self-appointed Chairman of this Dealtown Casino Initiative and I need your help to make this happen and I need it now while the iron is hot at Queens Park! Write, call, email, Facebook me, Tweet me now to show your support!

    Brian Keenan

    6030 Talbot Trail

    Dealtown ON. N0P 1W0

    Tel 519-365-6090

    Bekeen@sympatico.ca

    Tweet @MrBekeen



  • This should keep Windsor and Niagara casinos quiet for awhile!

    It's estimated that allowing the single-game betting could add more than 250 jobs and $70 million to the economy of Windsor alone (based on the Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino).

  • Renegade Liberal Offers Solution to Controversial Slots-at-Racetrack Program…

    Dealtown, Ontario – March 4, 2012… The board of directors of the Dealtown Casino Initiative unanimously approved a proposal from Chairman, Brian Keenan, to incorporate a Super-Track Plan (STP) into current design and thinking for the Dealtown Casino Hotel & Retirement Resort in Southwestern Ontario.  Chatham-Kent’s mayor, Randy Hope, and local Conservative MPP, Rick Nicholls have met repeatedly with Keenan to discuss the proposal.  Both support any plan that would transform the deserted Southwestern Regional Centre (SWRC) in Dealtown into a bustling resort that would provide more than 3,000 new jobs to economically devastated Chatham-Kent.

    Keenan says, “The idea to add a super racehorse track to the Dealtown Casino plan came to me after reading all the horse manure being flung by the Ontario Liberal government and the Ontario Horse Racing and Breeding industry over the antiquated and controversial OLG Slots at Racetracks program.”  Don Drummond, in his Drummond Report, identified this agreement and several others areas under the domain of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) as areas that could, and should, be changed if the Minister of Finance, Dwight Duncan, was going to “maximize profits” from the gaming industry in Ontario.

    There is no disputing that the 10 year old OLG Slots at Racetracks program is broken and seriously flawed. Most of the 17 agreements have recently expired and unless someone at OLG seriously screwed up, those agreements have not yet been renewed since everyone at Queens Park and OLG were anxiously awaiting the Drummond Report before making any changes. During the initial 10 year term, more than $3.5 billion dollars was doled out to the Racetracks and Horse People; as the two groups are referred to by OLG. An additional $600+ million was paid directly to the municipalities in which the 17 racetracks are located.

    The first and most serious flaw deals with the nearly equal payment of 10% to both the Racetracks and Horse People of the slot machine revenues at these sites. The payments to the Horse People appears to have been used, as intended, to improve the breeding stock in Ontario and to support race purses at these tracks which in turn helps attract quality breeders to our province to share in the race purses. This was confirmed in the 2008 report to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services that dealt with the strategic vision and direction for the Ontario Horse Racing and Breeding industry. This same study confirmed that the payments to the Racetracks (owners and operators) seriously lacked any controls or accountability to OLG. Therein is the $1,750,000,000 problem!

    The second flaw in the current slot program was the belief and anticipation that locating the slot machines at these racetracks would somehow attract an increasing number of people to the track when the horses were actually racing. Unfortunately, almost the opposite happened in that the people, who were attracted to the slots, seldom, if ever, take in the horse racing which in itself is seasonal. They come to the track, morning, noon and night 365 days a year for the sole purpose of playing the slots. If the slots were relocated to another more convenient location in these same communities, as the Drummond Report suggests, slot revenues to OLG from these 17 locations would most certainly increase; and in all likelihood double or even triple.  

    For those unfamiliar with horse racing, you should understand that the 17 racetracks involved with the OLG Slot Program operate an average of only 88 days each year, with 9 tracks open for racing less than 88 days and 4 of these 9 operating less than 30 days a year. You should also know that there is more money spent playing Bingo than there is being bet on pari-mutual wagering in Ontario.

    The light went on after talking with Ontario racehorse owners and trainers and listening to the pleading by the Ontario Horse People to save the nearly 60,000 direct and indirect jobs associated with this largely rural based industry! Keenan believes that there is a Win, Win solution that can save all those jobs, put millions, if not billions, into Finance Minister Duncan’s deficit reduction bank account, and put another 3,000+ unemployed people back to work in Chatham-Kent and an equal number in several of the other Super-Track centers.

    Here are the key recommendations of Keenan’s Super-Track Plan:

    1.      Terminate the Racetracks (owners and operators) subsidy currently paid to all 17 locations which amounted to $170 million last year and approximately $1.75 billion since the program started. If that money was used to improve the facilities at the respective racetracks then Ontario must have 17 of the finest tracks in the world and should not need further subsidies.  If past payments from OLG under the Slots-at-Track program were used to subsidize the operation of unprofitable tracks or line the owner’s pockets, as the finance minister suggests is happening, then the subsidies must stop anyway since the government can’t keep throwing good money after bad!

    2.      Continue to operate the Slot facilities at the current 17 locations until the smaller tracks are closed because they will no longer be self-sufficient without subsidies.

    3.      Continue to pay the Horse People 10% of the Slot revenue from the current 17 locations and expand the program to include additional slots added to the Super-Tracks equal to the number of slots currently installed at the smaller tracks that cease to operate.

    4.      Allow the sponsor municipalities to relocate the slot centres to more suitable locations if the track closes or if a move might generate more revenue for the community, the Horse People and the government through its OLG arm.

    5.      Designate the three race tracks that currently operate more than 150 days a year as Super-Tracks (Woodbine, Rideau and Flamboro).

    6.      Build a forth Super-Track at the proposed 250 acre site of the Dealtown Casino that would provide service for Horse People if and when the tracks in Windsor, Sarnia, Dresden, Clinton and London close for economic reasons. 

    7.      Add additional days of track operations at the Super-Tracks to support closure of the smaller tracks in their respective regional areas.

    8.      OLG should offer the current Racetrack Owners & Operators loans to transform the tracks that close and submit redevelopment plans for their facilities.

    To help you better understand the economics of this proposal, you must understand some of nit-ti gritty stuff.  For example, the owner/operator of the small racetracks in Windsor, Dresden and Woodstock received an estimated $78 million over the past decade under the slot program while the numbers for London’s Western Fair exceeds $100 million during the same period.  If the Keenan’s proposed plan is implemented, the Horse People will see an increase in revenue to support their industry!  OLG will contribute an additional $200+ million a year toward the current deficit.  The new Dealtown Casino and Super-Track will be built entirely by private investment and yet contribute nearly as much as the other major Ontario casino’s to the government treasury.

    Now doesn’t that sound like a winning proposition for everyone? But more importantly, it will pump several hundred million of capital construction into Southern Ontario.  It will create over 3000 new jobs in Chatham-Kent and the surrounding municipalities! It will increase the tax base in CK and thus lower our property taxes.

    Imagine, this is all possible because an economist named Don Drummond was asked to point out what the government could do to reduce its deficit without reducing the level of health care, education and other services that the folks in Ontario need. 

    Thank you Mr Drummond!

    By Brian Keenan, Chairman

    Dealtown Casino Initiative

  • Simple Solutions Can Save Ontario Liberals from Self Destruction…

    Chatham, ON. February 29, 2012...  Simple Solutions Can Save Ontario Liberals from Self Destruction…

     
    The Toronto Casino, Ontario Place and Horse Racing subsidy issues are three explosive issues capable of bringing down the Liberals if solutions are not found before the next budget!   As many of my followers know, I have offered up a solution that would make some, maybe even all, the stakeholders in the Ontario horse racing industry very happy campers.  It would also cough up a couple of billion dollars towards Ontario’s bulging deficit. The article that I published over the weekend, titled “Don Drummond is a Genius”  provides a rough framework for this WIN, WIN solution.
     
    In simple terms, here is what I have proposed and how it addresses Don Drummond’s recommendation to derive more income for the Ontario treasury from OLG. The solutions is really quite simple and can be almost painless, if not even comforting!  Let me walk you through the steps and the logic behind my plan, which for selfish reasons, I will continue to encompass under my Dealtown Casino Initiative (DCI) under the sub-heading of the Super-Track Plan (STP) because it gives new life to the old rusty failing OLG Slots at Racetracks program.
     
    First, there is no disputing that the 10 year old OLG Slots at Racetracks program is broken and seriously flawed.  Most of the 17 agreements expired on December 31, 2011 and unless someone at OLG seriously screwed up, those agreements would not have been renewed yet since everyone at Queens Park and OLG was awaiting the Drummond Report before doing anything major. During the initial 10 year term, more than $3.5 billion dollars was dolled out to the Racetracks and Horse People as referred to by OLG.  An additional $600+ million was paid directly to the municipalities in which the 17 racetracks are located.
     
    The first and most serious flaw deals with the nearly equal payment of 10% to both the Racetracks and Horse People of the slot machine revenues at these sites.  The payments to the Horse People appears to have been used to improve the breeding stock in Ontario and to support race purses at these tracks to attract quality breeders to our province to share in the race purses. This was confirmed in the 2008 report to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services that dealt with the strategic vision and direction for the Ontario Horse Racing and Breeding industry.  This same study confirmed that the payments to the Racetracks seriously lacked any controls or accountability to OLG.  Therein lays the $1,750,000,000 problem!
     
    The second flaw in the current slot program was the belief and anticipation that locating the slot machines at these racetracks would somehow attract an increasing number of people to the track when the horses were actually racing.  Unfortunately, almost the opposite happened in that the people, who were attracted to the slots seldom , if ever, take in the horse racing which in itself is seasonal. They come to the track, morning, noon and night for the sole purpose of playing the slots. If the slots were relocated to another more convenient location in these same communities, as the Drummond Report suggested, revenues to OLG would most certainly increase; and in all likelihood it would double or even triple. 
     
    For those unfamiliar with horse racing, you should understand that the 17 racetracks involved with the OLC Slot Program operate an average of only 88 days each year, with 9 of them open for racing less than 88 days and 4 of these 9 operate less than 30 days a year.  You should also know that there is more money spent playing Bingo in Ontario than there is bet on pari-mutual wagering at these horse racing tracks in Ontario.
     
    Ask yourself, “How could Don Drummond not point Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals to the OLG and its antiquated and seriously flawed Slots at Racetracks program and how could he not see that the gaming industry in Ontario is one of many ways to generate much needed revenues for the government’s war on its deficit?”  The knee-jerk solution from the Minister of Finance, Dwight Duncan was to open a big casino in Toronto and cut what he calls “the subsidy” program to the Ontario horse racing industry. That solution is seriously flawed for many reasons including the fact that I could take 3 to 5 years to build this mega-casino in Toronto and including the fact that it would seriously damage the horse racing industry in Ontario which supports 55 to 60 thousand jobs.
     
    Along comes, little ole Brian Keenan, the self-appointed Chairman of the Dealtown Casino Hotel and Retirement Village initiative, DCI for short.  This initiative was started long before Keenan and most other folks in Ontario even heard of Don Drummond and his report.  It was started to bring new life to one of Ontario’s devastated communities, namely Chatham-Kent by delivering a modest 3,000 new jobs.  It was started to save the 650,000 sq ft 250 acre closed regional centre from being bulldozed.  It was started because the government passed over this suitable faciliy for that correctional institution in favour of a spanking new $247M building being built in Windsor in the Hon. Dwight Duncan’s riding.  

    Along came the Duncan Report that challenges the government to manage its real estate assets more efficiently and charged them to use OLG to generate more revenues.
     
    Tune in to my next blog entry to learn how the revised Dealtown Casino Racetrack & Retirement Village initiative has been enhanced to save the Horse Racing and Breeding industry in Ontario. Learn how a few simple steps by the Ontario Liberal government can generate several billion dollars to eat away at the deficit.  Learn how the Liberals can be accomplished without spending more taxpayer’s money!   
     
    This is why I say, “Don Drummond is a Genius!”
     
    -
             30 –

    By Brian Keenan, Chairman

    Dealtown Casino Initiative
     
     

  • Don Drummond is a Genius!

    Don Drummond is a Genius!

    Sometimes you just can’t see the forest for the trees! Mr Drummond is a genius, not because he has given us the solutions to the province’s deficit problem but because he identified the areas that need to be addressed.  It’s up to us to cultivate the ground-work he has done and plant the solution seeds! Don Drummond has pointed us to at least one way to clip over a billion from the deficit through OLG. 

    One of the problem areas Mr Drummond identified for us involves the revenue sharing agreements with the horse racing industry. Millions and millions of dollars have been paid to the race track operators and the Ontario race horse breeders over the past 10 or so years under the OLG Slots at Racetrack agreements.  The 2010 payments totaled $334 million alone. Half of that goes to the track owners and operators and half goes to the horse people.

    The horse people use those funds to improve the breeding stock in the province and support race purses to attract quality breeders to the tracks.  This side of the current formula supports 55,000 jobs (according to the HLT Report on Horse Racing) in Ontario and generates tons of tax revenues and spending for and in the province.  It would be like shooting yourself in the foot to tamper with this part of the arrangement so leave it alone. The industry derives its income from three sources: wagering on horse races, the sale of Ontario-bred racehorses and slot revenue. The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) manages the use of the slot revenues.

    The second part of the formula involves payments to the track owners and operators.  These payments to the 17 Slot at Track partners totaled $169 million in 2010 and many millions  (actually the number exceeds $1.5 billion) in previous years. The agreements anticipated that improvements would be made to racetrack infrastructures, they did not specifically require improvements to be made and benchmarks and controls were not put in place by OLG to ensure that this would happen. Most track operators did initially make improvement to their racing facilities to accommodate the slots, some more than others. With some exceptions, much of these millions of dollars paid to the track operators simply evaporated and most certainly have not been used to improve the facilities.

    Maybe Don Drummond saw this loop-hole in the Slots at Track program or maybe not but this is where a change and a new solution should be found; a solution that will NOT affect the revenue to the horse owners.

    Here is my solution to the later problem!  Transfer the ownership of the racetracks to OLG so that 50% of this subsidy or whatever you want to call it goes back to the government to help pay down the province’s staggering deficit. There is more!  Close some of the 17 racetracks and build Super-tracks with full service casinos at geographically disbursed locations, like Woodbine, Mohawk, Ajax Down, Fort Erie, Rideau and Sudbury. Oh, did I forget some of the tracks? Yes, because we need to eliminate some to consolidate.

    Now for the bite that will hurt the most but will help both the horse people and the industry. Close the Windsor, Sarnia, Dresden, Clinton and Western Fair tracks and add a Super-track to the Dealtown Casino Initiative where the government already owns a 250 acre parcel of prime real estate and where they already have a 650,000 sq ft resort facility that can be transformed into the Dealtown Casino Racetrack and Retirement Village AT NO COST TO ONTARIO TAXPAYERS! The casino and racetrack will be paid for by one of the major gaming and hospitality developers, like Penn National or Delaware North who have impressive track records in both racetracks and casinos, or partners like Paragon Gaming of Las Vegas or Donald Trump who both have solid track records in Canada.

    Thank you Mr Drummond for identifying the problem!  Now it’s time to implement the solutions!

    By Brian Keenan, Chairman of the Dealtown Casino Initiative

  • SWRC gravel pit, solar farm or retirement resort?

    Rumors and speculation are flying in Chatham as to the potential new use, or misuse, of the Southwestern Regional Centre in Dealtown Ontario unfold. While Brian Keenan gathers support for a plan to transform the closed centre into the Dealtown Casino Hotel and Retirement Village with a rural flair, others are hoping to demolish the buildings and dig a gravel pit. Reliable sources, if there is such a thing, claim that a local business owner and an aggregate (gravel pit) company from our area have joined forces to buy the 235 acres and 29 interconnected buildings to mine the property of its "sandy" gold and copper pipes.

    It is bad enough that the government would even consider selling this complex to someone for a solar project that would demolish the buildings; but now details of another ecology unfriendly bidder have surfaced. Let me remind you that the replacement value of the buildings and infrastructure alone is close to a billion dollars.  Imagine what the public reaction would be if the government sells the property to someone who wants to demolish the buildings for scrap and transform the resulting hole in the ground into a gravel pit?

    Talbot Trail is one of Chatham-Kent's main tourist attractions from Wheatley to St Thomas. The stretch of road from Cedar Springs to Wheatley offers tourists one of most spectacular views of Lake Erie.  The Trail, as I call it, has attracted people from all over Canada who chose to buy their waterfront retirement homes on the Trail verse anywhere else in Ontario. Can you imagine what would happen to their property values if the SWRC becomes a gravel pit and the Trail becomes a dump-truck road?

    It's time to wake-up and shake-up the government before this valuable property is dumped on the market for a destructive use, like a solar farm or a gravel pit or both.  There is a far better solution and it would take less than a day to have it happen! 

    This Dealtown property should be given to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation for $1.00 so that the property can be transformed into a healthy resort capable of generating several thousand jobs in the community; also capable of generating millions of dollars of revenue for the province to pay down its staggering deficit; capable of building a major tourist attraction in southwestern Ontario; and God help me for saying, capable of rebuilding rural support for the Liberal government that lost its majority status for the way they shoved the Green Energy Bill down the throats of rural Ontario!

    Please don't let this happen!  Call our new MPP Rick Nicholls; call CK's mayor, Randy Hope; call anyone how can help save the regional center from destruction!  Tell them we need jobs, not solar panels and certainly not more sand pits!

     Brian Keenan, Chairman of the Dealtown Casino Initiative 

     

     

  • CK Mayor asks OG to delay SWRC sale

    Mayor Randy Hope has asked Infrastructure Ontario to delay the disposal of the Southwestern Regional Centre (SWRC) until at least the end of March based on "new changing circumstances." CK's economic development team is reconsidering whether to exercise the city's option to purchase the property and buildings for a single Lonnie.  This new and fresh thinking coincidently comes on the heals of the release of the Drummond Report last week and the suggestion by Ontario Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, that he may give OLG the green light to open more casinos to generate much needed revenues to reduce the province's debt.  Fortunately for CK, the Dealtown Casino Initiative which proposes to transform the SWRC into a casino resort could be the best and fastest route for Duncan to achieve that goal.

    Hartley Henderson, a gaming industry journalist, yesterday summarized the two imminent changes to our gaming industry in Canada, "Recently government officials in Canada have discussed expanding gambling as a way to raise revenue and cut down on illegal wagering. The Ontario government announced that it planned to follow other provinces and offer on-line gambling including casinos games and lotteries while federal MP Joe Comartin introduced a private members bill aimed at amending the Canadian criminal code to allow for single game sports betting. "

    These and other pending changes will oil the squeaking wheels at Ontario's current major casinos in Niagara Falls, Windsor and Rama. They will also silence the objections to a major new Toronto casino and smaller rural ventures like the proposed Dealtown Casino Hotel and Retirement Village. 

    The mayor may clearly have his eye on the 1900 direct jobs that the Dealtown initiative will generate and the 1400 indirect jobs in Chatham, Blenheim, Wheatley, Tilbury, Ridgetown, Wallaceburg, Dresden and surrounding areas. Who said the mayor and his council can't add (just kidding)?  For the record, the experts claim  that another 700 jobs will result from the spending power of all these Chathamites with new good paying jobs.

    God Bless the mayor for his vision and his support for this initiative!  And God Help him and city council if they don't get up, stand up and fight Queens Park for the long overdue meal ticket that Chatham-Kent deserves! 

    Brian Keenan 

  • Trump Joins List of Possible Development Partners...

    Chatham,Ontario - Feb 21, 2012.  Trump Entertainment Resorts has been added to the list of possible development partners for the Dealtown Casino Hotel and Retirement Village. Brian Keenan, Chairman for the initiative says, "Donald Trump has extensive experience in Ontario and  brings not only casino development experience to the table but also hotel and resort experience!"

    The transformation of the Southwestern Regional Centre into the Dealtown resort will cost an estimated $200+ million which is a fraction of what it would cost to build a similar facility from scratch . The project still requires the approval of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) authority which is poised to lift the moratorium on new casinos in Ontario based on recommendations in the recently released Drummond Report.

    "What's nice about this project is the fact that there is no site preparation required and the 650,000 sq ft of building space is sitting there ready to gut!" say Keenan. The next step is to get Trump and the other potential development partners out to the property to get a better feel for the project.

    BK 

  • Billion Dollar Solar Farm OR a Casino Resort for Dealtown…

    Chatham-Kent realtor, Brian Keenan the self-appointed Chairman of the Dealtown Casino Initiative (DCI) says, “The Ontario Government has a ready-made billion dollar site suitable for a casino and retirement resort, but maybe they don’t want it discovered!”  Instead, they are rushing to dispose of this asset for less than a tenth of a penny on the dollar of what it’s worth to build today.  In all likelihood this sprawling 235 acre Lake Erie waterfront resort property with its 16 mint-condition buildings totaling 650,000 sq ft of floor space will be sold this month for its scrap value. Once demolished, another tax payer subsidized Green Energy solar farm will be erected on the historic site if the deal is not stopped.

    Ironically, Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan who is on a mission to “maximize profits” passes by this stately resort every time he returns to his home ridding from his perch at Queens Park.  The property in question is known as the Southwestern Regional Centre (SWRC) and it was built with tax dollars in the early 60s.  At its peek, this self-contained resort catered to the daily needs of 1200 guests and employed more than 600 local residences.  It is the newest of three such facilities in Ontario that were deemed surplus by OG and ordered disposed of.  Last year the first of these billion dollar facilities, and a larger one at that, was sold for the tidy sum of $100,000 in Smith Falls to a developer.  

    “We don’t need a 235 acre solar farm on prime recreational waterfront real estate in Chatham-Kent!” says Keenan, who prepared a detailed plan to transform this stately facility into an appropriately named resort called the “Dealtown Casino Hotel Resort and Retirement Village”.  The plan would require NO TAXPAYER DOLLARS and would be built with $200M of investment capital from recognized leaders in the North American hospitality and gaming industry.  It would ultimately employ 1900 workers from Chatham-Kent, Essex and Middlesex counties and generate another 1400 indirect jobs to service the resort and a further 700 induced jobs which experts say will result from the spending power of these workers.  According to Mayor Randy Hope of CK, the idea received a “cool reception” when he presented it to officials at OLG.

    That is like the Ontario Government selling off Ontario Place to Samsung, its Green Energy partner, to build a giant wind and solar farm on our beautiful Lake Ontario waterfront. On the other hand, maybe that really is the government’s plan? Could it be that the suggestion to put the Toronto Casino at Ontario Place is just a ploy to rally opposition to that idea in favour of another location like Woodbine Racetrack? That would certainly leave Ontario Place available for one of their Green Energy initiatives. For as you know, Ontario Place is already the home of the province’s first wind farm.

    If it’s a casino that the minister wants and needs to “maximize profits” then Dealtown is a better, a more logical and a more economical choice for its location.  Those 3,000 new jobs are only a quarter of those lost in CK in the past decade; but they will be a start to a new life and a new heart for the community, not to mention the tax revenue and casino profits the Dealtown Casino Initiative will generate for OG.

    -          30 –

    By Brian Keenan

     

     

  • Niagara Falls Officials Cry the Blues

    Niagara Falls Officials Cry the Blues…

    Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor is a selfish, protectionist, cry-baby along with all the other Niagara officials!  More than a decade ago, the gaming authority in Ontario, OLG, gave new life and economic prosperity to Niagara Falls.  The decision to open, not one but two, casinos in Niagara Falls delivered some $2 billion in investments in hotels, restaurants and attractions to the city.  Now Craitor and city officials are crying foul on the chance that Toronto, or some other needier city, might get a casino.

    What about the concept of sharing good fortune with other much less fortunate cities? No, Craitor wants to keep the Golden Goose to himself, even if it means going against his party wishes.  He wants cities like Chatham to get the sour grapes, or should I say “the wind turbines” and “solar farms!”

    I am sick and tired of hearing the rich cities cry; and see cities like Windsor get one economic cookie after another, while cities like Chatham, Tilbury, Blenheim, Ridgetown and Wheatley (collectively called Chatham-Kent or CK) get literally wiped off the map.

    In the last decade CK has lost over 13,000 jobs which is about 20% of its adult workforce. The most recent census reported a drop in CK’s population in excess of 4500 souls.  The city with the 5th lowest real estate values in Canada has elegant Victorian mansions for sale at distress prices below the price of small condos or tiny town-houses in the GTA and the Niagara region.

    Read my lips Mr Craitor and all the other political officials crying foul about OLG lifting the moratorium on casinos; Chatham-Kent needs HELP and needs it NOW!  Unless someone has a better idea; that much needed help can come in the form of OLG’s support for the proposed Dealtown Casino Hotel and Retirement Village initiative.  This $200+ million facelift and transformation of the 650,000 sq ft Southwestern Regional Centre (SWRC) in tiny Dealtown on the north shore of Lake Erie will not compete with the Niagara casinos; will not compete with Casino Rama; and will not even compete with the Windsor casino. This retirement resort and casino will however chase the ghosts out of Dealtown and Chatham-Kent.

    Mr Craitor and pals, it’s our turn!

    Brian Keenan

  • Going to Church and to the Casino can be quite similar!

    Going to Church and to the Casino can be quite similar!

     

    Think about that statement for a minute. Most of us who go to church give an offering that is based on an amount we can afford. Most people pretty much do the same when they go to a casino. In both cases you are hopping, even praying, that you will benefit from your contribution, one way or another.  In either case you seldom go home with more money in your pocket than you went in with. 

    More often then not, you park in the same parking spot and sit in the same seat, unless someone beats you to them. You probably see some regulars but there are usually a few new faces.  In both the church and the casino you prey for good things to happen to you and your friends;  occasionally your prayers are heard.  In fact, going there usually becomes part of your routine and you even dress up for the occasion. Both the church and casino hold special events to raise money and you attend as many as you can. 

    So the next time someone suggests that you may be addicted to gambling, you might ask them if they go to church regularly and does that mean they are addicted to church?

     BK

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