Scugog Island First Nation to Battle Ontario over Pickering Casino
Published: July 3, 2022
The Scugog Island First Nation is preparing for a legal battle with Ontario, claiming the province hasn’t consulted the tribe over the launch of the Pickering Casino Resort.
According to the tribe, this represents a breach of an agreement that limits the number of gaming venues in Durham.
Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation stated that the provincial government was obliged by the country’s Constitution Act to discuss opening any new gaming facilities near the existing tribal casino.
However, despite the opposition, the new casino has been operating since last summer.
Chief Kelly LaRocca said the tribe was willing to resolve the dispute. The two sides have already agreed to meditation, whose aim is to achieve a fair agreement for both of them.
Pickering Casino Resorts officially launched in July 2021. Since then, the First Nation has warned the government about violating the existing gaming agreement.
The tribal casino is only 50 kilometres away from the gambling facility in Pickering. According to LaRocca, the provincial authorities have changed the gaming map of Ontario to suit their own plans.
The Scugog Island First Nation was also against opening Ontario’s iGaming market for private companies, launched in April this year.
A month before the launch, the First Nation asked the local government to postpone the launch in order to give the tribe more time to review the possible effects the move could have on its operations.
Despite numerous warnings, the province decided to go on with the market launch, and for Chief LaRocca, this was a slap in the face.
She pointed out that Ontario’s online casinos would end up costing millions of dollars to host communities on which the tribe builds its economy. These funds are essential to provide healthcare, clean drinking water, housing, and more.