Resort owners pitch site as gaming facility 0
COLLINGWOOD – The town is perfectly positioned for a gaming facility, say the owners of a west-end resort.
Peter Levoy, president of Georgian Manor Resort, and John Simmons – who Levoy presented as a recent business partner and part owner of the resort – told Collingwood town councillors on Monday night that their facility would be the perfect location for the 300 slot machines being offered up for the region by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
OLG is presently going through a process of sounding out potential gaming operators, as well as the willingness of communities to accept facilities, in 29 designated regions across the province.
Collingwood is in an area designated as Central Zone 7, with Wasaga Beach, and portions of Clearview and Springwater townships.
Simmons, who told councillors he had considerable experience in the gaming industry, presented a vision for Georgian Manor Resort that would include a 400-to-500 performing arts centre.
“The winning formula for getting a casino in any area is you need to be a destination,” said Simmons, noting that ‘formula’ would include hotel suites, business and convention facilities, fine dining and entertainment, along with gaming facilities and a performing arts centre.
“What draws people to (Casino Rama near Orillia) is they bring in acts and different entertainment,” said Simmons, adding afterward in an interview with local reporters that “people go to Rama and never put a dime in a slot machine” because they’re there strictly for a concert.
Simmons says Georgian Manor Resort is in discussions with one Toronto company that does ‘holographic’ concerts that are as good as the real thing.
Collingwood has signed a memorandum of understanding with the three other municipalities to work together on bringing a gaming facility to the region. Wasaga Beach has already signalled its interest as being the host facility, while the MOU outlines the potential for the four municipalities to share revenues.
However, Simmons says Collingwood should be the choice because it is a four-season community and has a recently redeveloped downtown, as well as its proximity to the resort areas in the west that have not been designated for a gaming facility.
Levoy said the resort has 20,000 square feet available for expansion, and the company is eyeing waterfront property across the highway from the resort.
“We’re looking at significant changes to the resort (regardless),” said Levoy after he and Simmons presented to council. “(OLG) is looking for a destination facility, and as a resort, we believe Georgian Manor is the best facility in the region.
Levoy said a gaming facility at the resort would “be an economic impact not only for the facility, but the region.”
Simmons said while the OLG proposal is focused on slots, “if you read between the lines,” there is a potential in the future that a site would also be permitted tables, such as for card games such as blackjack and poker, and even sports betting.
Collingwood will be taking part in a public information meeting with OLG at the Wasaga RecPlex, Tuesday night, starting at 7 p.m. Collingwood council is holding its own public meeting to get input on gaming facilities on Oct. 29.