Why "Place of Amusement" does not include a Casino (March 29, 2019)


During the Sudbury City Council meeting on March 19th, 2019, staff made a presentation titled "Large Projects Update".  In one of the slides, staff declared that a casino is permissible in all C2, C5 and C6 zones. It is staffs contention that a casino could locate anywhere in the city without going through the zoning process based on the category of "Place of Amusement", which is permitted in these zones, as proper zoning for a casino.


Figure 1: Slide from Large projects Update presentation.

What is a "Place of Amusement"?

Zoning By-Law 2010-100Z defines a "Place of Amusement" as the following;

Figure 2: Place of Amusement definition per Zoning By-Law 2010-100Z

Place of Amusement is a zoning permission that originated in the 1970's long before casinos were contemplated in Ontario.  The definition and its derivatives are still used by most municipalities throughout Ontario. The definition lists specific amusement activities including a bowling alley, pool hall, billiards parlour, pinball arcade, arcade or game establishment and even wax museum.  There is no mention of "Casino", or "Gaming Establishment" or "Gaming Facility" which are more current land use permissions used for casinos or slot machine facilities. 

Is a casino a permitted use in a "Place of Amusement" as defined in the by-law?

No it is not.  Consider the  word(s) "Casino", "Gaming Establishment", or "Gaming Facility"  do not appear in the definition. Referring back to our zoning By-Law 2010-100Z we see a comment on permitted uses.


Figure 3: Permitted use comments per Zoning By-Law 2010-100Z

According to our own Zoning By-Law 2010-100Z and the Planning ActIf a use is not listed, it is not permitted, therefore, a casino is not a permitted use for a "Place of Amusement"

Do any other juristictions use "Place Of Amusement" to permit a casino?

No they do not.  ALL existing casino or slots facilities (including Sudbury) are in locations zoned as either "Casino", "Gaming Establishment", or "Gaming Facility" in their respective communities zoning By-Laws.  All other municipalities recognize the difference between a pinball arcade (and like facilities) and an Ontario government casino. See  Appendix A : Zoning text for Casino's in Ontario  for respective communities zoning by-laws.

The present zoning for The Slots at Sudbury Downs uses the word "casino" and does not mention "place of amusement" which should have been used if casino was actually a permitted use in that zoning category.


Figure 4:  Zoning for Existing Slots facility at Sudbury Downs.


Further Evidence 

1. C2 limitation on "Place of Amusement"


Figure 5:  "Place of Amusement" Limitations

 The most popular commercial designation is C2. This designation has a limitation for "place of amusement" uses that states (5) Provided that no pinball arcade contains more than 20 machines or is located closer than 300.0 meters to an established public school. This demonstrates that a casino is not contemplated as how could you place a restriction of 20 pinball machines maximum and then permit a casino with 500+ slot machines?

 2. Parking requirements for "Place of Amusement"

When the City Traffic consultant Dillon attempted to use the parking standard for a “Place of Amusement” at the Kingsway site of the casino it required 293 spaces. However, when they analyzed the casino they determined a need for 470-515 spaces demonstrating that the term “Place of Amusement” did not contemplate a casino. Indeed, it is submitted the City’s Official Plan did not contemplate the proposed casino nor the proposed “Entertainment District.” (Dillon Report-Enhanced MR – BIA – V. 2, Tab “p”, S. 4.2.2, pages 36-39).

 3. Variation to "Place of Amusement" used in KED casino rezoning application.

At the KED site, the proposed new zoning by-law requests permission for “a place of amusement in the form of a casino”. If a Place of Amusement already included permission for a casino there would be no need to add the underlined words.


Planning officials across Ontario recognize the zoning permission Place of Amusement as referring to "games" and not "gaming" as related to a gambling casino. The zoning permission  does not contemplate a casino based on parking requirements, lack of definition of ancillary uses typically associated with casinos, and limitations not consistent with a gambling casino. Further, the license process in Sudbury for the zoning permission Place of Amusement clearly is not intended to grant permission for a gambling casino.

To grant permission for a casino using solely the Place of Amusement definition is contrary to the Planning Act and the citys' own zoning by-law 2010-100Z.

Presently, the only location properly zoned for a casino in Greater Sudbury is the present location of Sudbury Downs.



Appendix A : Zoning text for Casino's in Ontario


North Bay is in the process of permitting a casino and they have defined the zoning permission as:  "Casino/Gaming Facility"

Both Sudbury and North Bay have a license application process to be followed for Place of Amusement facilities. The definitions for the permission are stated on their respective application forms. These definitions are worded differently than what appears in the zoning by-laws.

The North Bay Place of Amusement definition is very similar to Sudbury's definition.

North Bay Place of Amusement Definition

“Place of Amusement” shall mean a Business or Premises in which are offered facilities for the playing of:
(i) three or more games of chance, or (ii) three or more games of mixed chance and skill, or (iii) a combination of three or more games of chance and games of mixed chance and skill.
Games shall mean games that are not contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada, and shall include, but are not limited to video games, pinball games, table top hockey games, table top soccer games, electronic games, and billiard tables, pool tables or bagatelle tables or bowling alleys.

Sudbury Place of Amusement Definition

"place of amusement" shall mean a building, room or area which is devoted to
the offering of facilities for the play of:
(a) any games of chance; or (b) any game of mixed chance and skill for the amusement of the public, which is not contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada H, R. S. C. 1985, Chapter C-46, as amended, but does not include premises in which the only amusement facilities offered are pool tables, billiard tables or bowling alleys;
and shall include roller skating rinks, miniature golf courses, merry-go-rounds, carousels, menageries, circuses, midways and other like shows usually exhibited by showmen;

Comment: Both definitions contain a reference prohibiting activities contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.  This disclaimer is intended to exclude elicit gambling activities sometimes associated with some of the intended uses.  The planners in North Bay understand the difference between "games" and "gaming" and have created a separate zoning permission for their new casino.

( Both definitions were retrieved from respective license application forms)



Amusement centre means an indoor entertainment facility providing for amusement, diversion or pastime, including a video game or pinball arcade; bingo hall; bowling alley; billiard hall or pool hall. (salle de jeux)


Casino means an indoor entertainment facility, licensed by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the principal business of which is gambling, and which may also include restaurants, theatres, or places of assembly as ancillary uses, as well as retail, counselling services, financial services and offices as accessory uses. (casino) (By-law 2018-173)


PLACE OF ENTERTAINMENT Shall mean a premises where entertainment is offered for gain or profit such as a cinema, public hall, billiard or pool rooms, bowling alley, dance hall or similar activity for the enjoyment of the general public.

GAMING ESTABLISHMENT Shall mean premises accommodating up to 800 slot machines, together with related restaurants, lounges, administrative offices and other accessory uses. For the purposes of this definition a ‘Gaming establishment’ shall not include a bingo parlour or any other casino-type game or use.


1. Places of Amusement. For the purposes of this subsection, a place of amusement shall mean an establishment operated for commercial gain or profit wherein amusement facilities are provided such as an arcade show or penny arcade, billiard or pool room, and amusement or pinball machines.

2. Gaming Facility means a facility where people congregate for any activity or game of chance or skill for money or other valuable consideration, including without limitation the operation of slot machines, table games, electronic table games, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, off track betting, sports betting, video lottery terminals, entertainment, or horse racing activities and may include supporting uses limited to retail uses, banquet halls, taverns, conferences, meetings, recreational centres, restaurants, and business and ...


Commercial establishments primarily engaged in operating recreation and amusement facilities and services. Such uses may include the following or similar uses;
*                 ·  Arcades
*                 ·  Bowling facilities
*                 ·  Curling rinks
*                 ·  Health clubs
*                 ·  Pool and billiards parlours


Establishments primarily engaged in operating gambling facilities that offer table-wagering games along with other gambling activities such as slot machines. These establishments often provide food and beverage services.


PLACE OF ENTERTAINMENT means and includes a theatre, auditorium, dance hall, cinema, billiard or pool hall, bowling alley, ice or roller skating rink, curling rink, or arena but does not include a Gaming Establishment / Casino. (By-law 98-103) (By-law 16-053)

PLACE OF AMUSEMENT means any land, building or part of land, building or structure, but not including a Gaming Establishment / Casino, open for use to the public, containing therein three (3) or more amusement devices even though such devices may not be operational. (By-law 98-103) (By-law 16-053)

GAMING ESTABLISHMENT / CASINO means an establishment primarily engaged in the playing of games of chance, or of mixed chance and skill, licensed by the Province of Ontario, such as slot machines, card games, dice games, video lottery terminals and other casino style games, machines, devices, or lottery scheme for money or other items of value, and may also include ancillary uses such as the sale of food and beverages, live music and other performing acts and associated offices, but shall not include a Place of Assembly, Place of Amusement, a Place of Entertainment or a Bingo Hall. (By-law 16-503)


“PLACE OF AMUSEMENT” means a building or part of a building within which three or more amusement machines are available to the public.

“GAMING ESTABLISHMENT” means a building or part of a building used for the purpose of operating games of chance or gambling, such as but not limited to playing at cards, dice, gaming tables or wheels or video lottery terminals, whether by wager of money or other valuable thing, and shall include such establishments as casinos and permanent charity gaming clubs, but shall not include Monte Carlo Events. (70-1997)


“CASINO AND/OR GAMING ESTABLISHMENT” means a building or part of a building which is open to the public for the purposes of the playing of games of chance and which is owned and/or managed and/or regulated by the Ontario Casino Corporation on behalf of the Government of Ontario in accordance with the Gaming Control Act, as amended, and which may include entertainment, dining and liquor licensed premises.


“Place of Amusement” means a premises which are devoted to the offering of facilities for the playing of any game for the amusement of the public such as a billiard or pool rooms, bowling alleys, electronic games, indoor playground, miniature golf courses or roller skating rinks.

“Commercial Fitness/Recreational Centre” means a commercial establishment that has been designed for conduct of sport, athletic and leisure activities such as squash courts, swimming pools, exercise classes and other similar indoor recreational facilities are provided and operated for gain or profit, but does not include an adult entertainment establishment, a casino or place of amusement as defined herein.

Note: differentiates between "place of amusement" and "casino"!


Amusement Arcade: shall mean a lot and a building or structure, or portion thereof where four or more amusement devices are provided and a fee is charged for their use in any manner whatsoever.
Amusement Device: shall mean any machine, device, or contrivance for playing any game of chance or skill or of mixed chance and skill which is used to afford entertainment or amusement to the player of the device and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes what are commonly known as a pinball game, an electronic game, and a video game, but does not include pool tables, billiard tables, bowling alleys, table games, or slot machines.

Gaming Establishment: shall mean a lot and a building or structure, or portion thereof, used for the purposes of operating games of chance, or of mixed chance and skill, and shall include slot machines and table games, and may include any casino style game, device or lottery scheme, as approved by the Government of Province of Ontario or such person or authority in the Province as may have been specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and may also include areas devoted to the sale of food and beverages, entertainment and associated offices.


PLACE OF ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION means a premises used as one or more of the following: billiard hall; bingo hall; bowling alley; club; cultural facility; exhibition hall; games arcade; health studio; private park; sports facility; theatre. It does not include a carnival or golf course.

GAMING FACILITY means a casino or slot machine facility established or regulated under any Provincial Act. A billiard hall, bingo hall, games arcade, place of entertainment or recreation, teletheatre, or building used for the sale of lottery tickets is not a gaming facility.


"AMUSEMENT GAME ESTABLISHMENT" means a building or a part thereof within which more than three amusement game machines are available to the public.

"AMUSEMENT GAME MACHINE" means a mechanical, electrical or electronic device activated by the insertion of a coin or token for the play of a game of chance and/or skill that is not contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.

“CASINO” means a facility for the purposes of gaming that is authorized by the Province of Ontario. (Z.-1-182697)


(305) Gaming Establishment
means premises used for the purpose of wagering on games of chance under Province of Ontario legislation, excluding bingo or other lottery events licensed by the City of Toronto for charitable purposes.


PLACE OF ENTERTAINMENT – means a motion picture or other theatre, auditorium, billiard or pool room, bowling alley, ice or roller skating rink, or dance hall, but does not include any place of entertainment or recreation otherwise defined or classified in this By-law.

GAMING FACILITY – means a building or structure any part of which is used or intended to be used for the purpose of dealing, operating, maintaining or conducting a casino, charity casino, slot machine facility or prescribed lottery scheme.


NOTE: No casino contemplated but they clarified definitions in 2012 to ensure they are not used for a casino zoning.

Means a motion picture or live theatre, arena, auditorium, planetarium, concert hall and other similar uses but shall not include any adult entertainment establishment, any use entailing the outdoor operation or racing of animals or motorized vehicles, a casino or any other establishment accommodating or providing gambling or gaming activities, wagering or betting, video lottery or gaming machines, or any other similar type of gambling use.

Means an establishment that contains facilities that offer games of skill and competition for the amusement of the public, such as motion simulation rides, virtual reality games, video games, computer games, laser games and similar types of uses, but does not include casinos or any other establishment accommodating gambling or gaming activities, wagering or betting, video lottery and gaming machines or any other similar type of gambling use.