City council has voted in favour of rejecting any new gaming facilities for Toronto, effectively shutting the book on a multi-billion dollar casino and entertainment complex for the downtown core.

During a special meeting Tuesday morning, council voted 40-4 against the creation of any new gaming facilities within the city. In a separate vote council also voted 24-20 against the expansion of gaming at Woodbine Racetrack.

A motion from Mayor Rob Ford that would have rejected a downtown casino outright, but left the door open to adding table games at Woodbine Racetrack was defeated 31-13.

The special meeting started at 9:30 a.m. at city hall after 24 of 45 council members signed a petition to hold the meeting over the weekend.

The petition, spearheaded by Coun. Mike Layton, was created in the wake of Mayor Rob Ford cancelling the vote and calling the proposed casino “dead.” Ford said the issue wasn’t worth debating if the province wouldn’t guarantee a hosting fee of $100 million.

Ford had previously lobbied for a downtown casino, suggesting such a facility could bring much needed jobs to the city, but in a surprise announcement last Thursday, the mayor said he couldn’t support a casino that is not “in the best interest of Toronto.”

Layton and several other casino opponents on council then began compiling the two-thirds majority needed to recall the special meeting and, presumably, officially defeat the casino once and for all.

Speaking to council Tuesday, Ford called on his colleagues to vote against any casino being built in the downtown core, but to leave the door open for gaming to be expanded at Woodbine Racetrack should the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation express interest in the idea.

“I rise today to send a clear message to the province that Toronto does not support a new casino in the C1 (downtown) zone,” Ford said. “Hosting a casino in Toronto that does little to address the city’s needs and simply makes the province richer is not in our best interest. The province wants something for nothing.”

City Manager Joe Pennachetti had previously estimated that a new casino complex in the downtown core would generate a hosting fee of up to $148 million, however on Tuesday he said that number would be closer to $39 million.

Pennachetti’s estimate was based on a gaming floor of about 175,000 square feet with about 2,800 slots and 400 table games.

“I acknowledge to councillors that this is a very, very difficult decision,” Pennachetti told councillors as he presented a staff report. “Weighing the significant economic benefits of an entertainment and convention complex versus the social implications of a gambling complex is very difficult. However, we must realize that there almost certainly will be a casino in the GTA and the social implications will be felt regardless of where it is located.

Should council decided to vote against the casino, Pennachetti urged them to look at other ways to obtain the convention centre space that would have accompanied the project.

“From a staff viewpoint, no matter what happens today we should be talking about convention centre development in the City of Toronto,” he said. “We feel very strongly about it.”