Toronto Mayor John Tory’s executive committee has voted to expand gaming at Woodbine Racetrack by a 10-3 majority. Just two years ago, Toronto City council struck down similar expansion plans on the site and rejected proposals to build a major casino in downtown Toronto.

The approved proposal would allow the installation of 2,000 more slot machines (to a maximum of 5,000) and the introduction of 300 eight-seat live dealer tables at Woodbine. The plans must, however, still gain approval from the full council next week.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation estimates that as a result of the expansion, the city’s revenues could increase from $15.5-million to between $22.5-million and $26.5-million per year. And those in favour also point to job creation in the city’s northwest as a major benefit.

Opponents to the expansion cite concerns over social health issues such as gambling addiction. This will be a highlight of the next round of debate.

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