MGM makes jobs pitch as casino PR blitz continues
MGM Resorts raised the stakes in Toronto's casino debate on Saturday.
The casino giant held an open house on property they hope to one day break ground on, making way for a new, multi-million dollar gambling and resort complex, which includes a shopping mall and hotel.
Along with officials from various labour unions and industry associations, top company executives were on-hand at a so-called 'career showcase' at Exhibition Place, taking questions from potential future employees.
MGM claims their vision for a casino on the CNE grounds would lead to as many as 5,000 temporary construction jobs and $10,000 permanent positions, with an average salary of $60,000 per year.
The event attracted a mix of veteran job seekers looking for a change in careers or a better paycheque, and young workers who may look to the proposed casino as an opportunity to start their careers.
There were also many recent immigrants who believe the project is a way for them to get valuable work experience.
Busha and her husband settled in Toronto 2 years ago, after moving from Bangladesh. She's got credentials and years of work experience in customer service in her home country, but says employers in Toronto want new hires to have spent time working in Canada.
A new casino could present her with that opportunity.
"If I send out 100 resumes, I will maybe get one call back for an interview so its very hard to find a job [in Toronto]," Busha says.
She is one of dozens of people who handed in resumes to MGM's human resources staff but some visitors tell NEWSTALK 1010 that company representatives could only paint of picture of what working for MGM 'could' be like, rather than provide specifics.
For example, MGM has not been able to provide an exact breakdown of the 10,000 jobs they claim would be created, nor have they explained how they have determined that the average job at the casino-resort would pay a salary of $60,000.
Judging by the questions asked during a Q & A session with MGM executives, many visitors to Saturday's event still have a significant appetite for answers to 'big picture' questions surrounding the casino issue, like addiction and traffic gridlock.
It comes as no surprise to city councillor Mike Layton, who is skeptical that MGM can deliver on what it claims is possible.
"I think you look at pieces of [MGM's proposal] and you say 'that's just too good to be true,' and when something is too good to be true, it typically is," he says.
"This is what casinos do so well; they dangle the jackpot right in front of you. They get you to put your money down and then they take it from you."
Layton believes a big casino would do nothing but divert money from other businesses, especially smaller restaurants and entertainment venues, and ultimately force employers to make job cuts.
A city council vote on whether to approve Toronto's first casino-resort is expected to come next month.
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