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Casino approved for Belleville

Pastore and Christopher

Jake Pastore of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (left) and Mayor Taso Christopher after Monday’s decision by council to approve a casino on Bell Boulevard. Photo by James Gaughan, QNetNews

By James Gaughan [1]

BELLEVILLE – Belleville city council [2] voted unanimously Monday night to approve a casino for the city.

The Shorelines Casino [3] will be built on Bell Blvd next to the Towneplace Suites by Marriot [4]. It is expected to open early next year.

The decision after years of discussion and speculation means that construction can now begin.

The casino is expected to bring 300 jobs to Belleville.

Mayor Taso Christopher says he’s very pleased with the decision.

The casino will bring growth “in every sector, from economic development to employment,” Christopher said after the meeting.

Coun. Jack Miller said he’s happy the process of bringing the casino to the city is finally done.

“We’ve sat back and watched other host communities take in millions and millions and millions of dollars from these faculties.”

Chuck Keeling, vice-president of Great Canadian Gaming [5], the company that will operate the casino, celebrated the news on Twitter.

The casino is expected to be about 48,000 square feet and accommodate 1,000 people. There will be 400 slot machines, as well as gaming tables.

It is also expected to bring in money to the city. Jack Pastore, director of municipal and community relations at OLG, says Belleville will receive 5.25 per cent of the first $65 million of revenue when the casino opens, three percent on the next $135 million, 2.5 per cent on the following 300 million, and 0.5 percent on all revenue over $500 million.

“That will come back to the city,” Pastore said, adding that council will decide what to do with the money: “We don’t tell them how to spend it.”