Letter to Executive Committee re No Casino

April 30, 2013

in Correspondence

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April 13, 2013
Executive Committee
10th floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
EX 30.1 New Casino and Convention Development in Toronto
Dear Mayor Rob Ford and Councillors:
The Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations (FoNTRA) is opposed to a proposed casino in
the City of Toronto. Our most compelling reason is from an economic perspective. The other two reasons
relate to urban planning and public health.
Those in favour of a casino claim two economic reasons: first, a casino could provide funds for the depleted
treasuries of Ontario and Toronto, and second, a casino could create jobs. Until the city and provincial
governments determine the expected revenue from a casino for the Ontario and Toronto treasuries
and share that with the public, we do not have sufficient information to make a determination. The logic
of a foreign owned casino suggests, however, negative rather than positive economic consequences.
Casino dollars are consumption spending: money spent there is money not available to be spent elsewhere
in our urban economy. A casino, therefore, just shunts money and jobs from one place to another.
Spending on casinos is money that could be spent on other gambling opportunities, other entertainment or
other shopping activities. It is highly unlikely that a casino would attract cross border tourists. The catastrophe
is that most of the money and jobs will not be realized in Toronto, but in Nevada or California, because
the majority of the tax revenue from a casino in Toronto will return to the state where the owners
reside. Our understanding is that only a fraction of the revenue will stay with governments in Ontario,
and only a fraction will stay in the pockets of the casino’s workforce. In light of these economic situations,
it appears that a definitive study of the economic benefit of a casino in Toronto is warranted.
In FoNTRA’s opinion, casinos do not contribute positively to city-building and their social impact affects
the quality of place. By their nature, casinos are inward-facing, aiming to keep the client contently in one
place, depleting the life of the street, and giving little or nothing back to the public realm. Typically, casinos
present a windowless façade for stretches of a block or more. If located on the exhibition grounds, a
casino would jeopardize the iconic Canadian National Exhibition. In addition, given that the locations
being suggested, such as the exhibition grounds, are car rather than transit oriented, a casino would gener2
ate a large volume of cars, with all the associated congestion. If the proposed casino is located in downtown
Toronto, it will further clog the city with cars and also require parking spaces.
Finally, most gamblers may be able to control their impulses. For them, the expenditure is akin to outlay
for any entertainment, and therefore harmless. But a minority of gamblers fall prey to addiction which has
been proven to inflict serious damage to businesses, family life and finances. As such, casinos are a threat
to public health.
For the above reasons, FoNTRA strongly opposes a casino for Toronto.
Yours truly,
Peter Baker
Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA
124 Sherwood Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 2A7
Co-Chair, FoNTRA
129 Hanna Road
Toronto, Ontario
M4G 3N6
peterwbaker@rogers.com
gkettel@gmail.com
Copy: Joe Pennachetti, City Manager
FoNTRA representatives and
others

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