Toronto is being besieged by Casino Operators who are attracted by our Mayor’s desire to get “money for nothing”. Huge numbers are being tossed around and they are designed to influence the average voter in favour of casinos. However, a pause is in order before endorsing this alternative.
First of all, any argument based on the “property tax” that a casino might pay is irrelevant. Casinos have a tendency to displace other businesses and the property tax paid by a casino is offset by the property tax not paid by the displaced businesses. The latter are often more benefit to the community than the casino related ventures.
The “hosting fee” is often touted as a benefit to Toronto. Wild numbers are quoted at astronomical levels without any empirical support. Windsor is reported to receive $3mm per year in hosting fees – a pittance. Even if we accept the suggestion that the hosting fee may be $50mm, we have to remember that there are 3 million of us. That is about $17 each every year or about $1.42 a month. Hardly enough to make us do something that is otherwise bad for our City.
Casinos have many bad effects. They drive out otherwise successful businesses. They attract organised crime – loan sharks, prostitutes, pimps and other victims and victimisers. Gambling addiction increases with casino presence and either victim suffering or crime results from that affliction.
This is a great City. We already have attractions that benefit tourists and locals. We do not need a casino.
In any case, a Toronto casino is unlikely to attract any additional tourists. There are two casinos in Niagara Falls, Ontario and one more in Niagara Falls NY. There is a casino in Rama. NYC residents have a choice of three casinos. Atlantic City is losing money because of a casino in Philadelphia. Windsor’s casino is suffering because there is a casino in Detroit. No one is going to come to Toronto because we ruined our City by letting a casino have its sway. Any casino customers would be local – and that is money that would be spent elsewhere in our economy in more healthy ways. There is no upside for anyone except the big casino company that succeeds in persuading us to destroy our future for their benefit. That company would be sucking the lifeblood from our City for their profit.
Casinos have nothing to offer us. We should – must – say no thank you.