Toronto Mike

The Toronto Casino Debate Continues


The Toronto Casino debate might have died a few years ago but opponents of a casino shouldn’t  assume the fight is over. It could get revived at any time by a provincial  government and by the city of Toronto. All it takes is a mayor or premier to  say they want to go all in and make a Toronto casino a reality. Selling the  idea of a casino is probably an easy one and it really requires planning and  campaigning which during the last time around that campaign was fairly weak and  it allowed people to research more on the topic and learn the pros and cons of  having a casino in the city. We know that Toronto city council voted 40-4 to  reject the casino proposal, this was in 2013 and the debate is far from dead.  One would think after OLG launched their first provincially licensed online  casino,, that they don’t need this tax revenue they claimed they  needed. The truth is gamblers have had access to online  casinos for a number of years and playolg has been a little late to  the party but it will probably quiet the need for more gambling income as they  got it.

We know that Caesars  Entertainment was behind the bid for the Toronto casino and it seems they  still wanted to push for a deal to go through. Caesar’s is now in bankruptcy  protection and an article by the New York Post here claims this was part of an effort was to  win support from creditor’s for reorganization efforts. Maybe the company  should change it’s name to Seizures Entertainment to be more fitting. Without a  doubt, if they were to win the Toronto contract, it would definitely help the  floundering company but it goes to show how desperate they were back then and  how they still are now.

The pros of having a casino in Toronto

There are some pros about it and we’ll focus on these before  we start talking about the cons. The pros are that it would spark a major  development from an infrastructure point of view. Assuming Ontario Place could  be an ideal spot for a new casino, this would add another entertainment complex  that would cost a lot of money to build, create some local jobs in the  construction as well as hiring staff and other spinoff industries. Whatever it  would be, it certainly wouldn’t be ugly. That might sound good and rosy but  let’s check out the cons.

The cons of having a casino in Toronto


There are many experts that predict that a Toronto casino  would be bad for the local economy and it’s a negative drain on the economy  rather than a helping stimulate the economy which is something you’ll hear  Caesar’s claim to be true. To claim that a casino would be a positive economic  gain is like saying that legalizing heroin would be a positive economic gain  for the local economy. We can already see what the opioid epidemic is doing in  the US and the drug dealers, aka doctors and the pharmaceutical industry is  making a good profit but it’s coming at the expense of the money and life being  sucked out the poor suckers that are addicted to these drugs, which are  prescribed by doctors that we expect to look after our health. It’s maybe no  different we expect the same from politicians to look after our city and the  people in it rather than any potential kickbacks whether anything illegal is  happening there or not.

Casino Windsor: A case study

Look no further than Casino  Windsor to know what a casino was supposed to do for the local economy but  didn’t do. When the casino first opened, a lot of shop owners and restaurants  were excited at the influx of people that were coming into the city to gamble.  Instead, all of these restaurants and jewelery shops had to close down because the  money just wasn’t there. If people were coming to gamble, they weren’t really  spending their money elsewhere. The casino also sucked up more money from the  locals that otherwise might have spent it locally outside of the casino. You  can argue all you want about the tax money that comes in but money doesn’t grow  on trees and if you look at the economics of the situation, there are too many  experts that point that casinos are a drain on a local economy and not the  opposite. On top of this, the casino in Windsor is part of the Harrah’s group  of casinos which you guessed it, profits by them leave the country.

In the United States where more and more casinos keep being  built but are failing. Funny enough Caesar’s was one to put a casino in  Baltimore and we now know that Caesar Entertainment are struggling financially.  This article from The Atlantic explains how casinos wreck a local economy and how  casinos are even suffering.

Problem Gambling

Problem gambling always increases anytime a casino opens its  doors around the world and the problem is a local one. There are a lot of  gamblers that don’t go to the other casinos like Casino Niagara, Casino Windor  or Casino Orillia because it’s a long distance both in time to get there aside  from the fact it costs money. These casinos will certainly offer you access to  a free shuttle bus service but let’s be honest, a casino in Toronto is going to  activate more problem gamblers in this city. A good resource on the topic is ThePOGG’s  problem gambling addiction guide.

Some of the arguments against a casino in Toronto are that  60% of profits come from people that have a gambling addiction and also many of  the marginalized communities are affected and prone to gambling.

2017 and beyond

John Tory is now the city mayor and Kathleen Wynne is barely  hanging on as premier and she is really showing how out of touch she is with  people. There’s a good chance she is not back for another term and nobody knows  what the next premier would have on their agenda. The question keeps coming up  as there will always be lobbyists pushing for a casino in Toronto but after the  last debate, it seems that most of the people in the city are in favour of  keeping it out. Toronto has become a world class city without the help of a  casino and there are too many indicators that suggest a casino wouldn’t help  our city get better.

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