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 Act, If 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
Figure 4: Zoning for Existing Slots facility at Sudbury Downs.
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
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
Presently, the only location properly zoned for a casino in
Greater Sudbury is the present location of Sudbury
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
The North Bay Place of Amusement definition is very similar to
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
the offering of facilities for the play of:
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
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
( Both definitions were retrieved from respective license application
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
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
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
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 ...
AMUSEMENT AND FITNESS FACILITIES
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
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
“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
"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
“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.
PLACE OF ENTERTAINMENT
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.
PLACE OF AMUSEMENT
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.