In the 1980s, Montreal became the first major city in Canada to open a local casino. After much debate, the casino opened amidst a flurry of criticism, but local politicians were convinced that it would be a beneficial for the city and its residents.
Critics of the new casino were worried that it would cause an increase in gambling addiction, lower work productivity rates and encourage criminal activity. However, the adverse effects experienced by the city were minimal.
Politicians and the casino operator claim that this is due to the fact that the casino is in the city but still relatively remote. While residents can drive to the casino within a half hour, it is still quite out of the way. Those who wish to take public transit to the venue also have to travel by shuttle bus to complete their journey.
As such, operators believe that this will also be the case for the new casino in Toronto – if it is built on Ontario Place’s former grounds. It is inaccessible by the TTC subway system, and takes quite a trek even by car.
“It’s what an Ontario Place casino might be,” says Wendy Gillis of the Toronto Star. “Near the city centre, but not a five-minute trip you make on your lunch hour”.
Hopefully, the perspectives of Montreal’s politicians and casino operators will shed some light on the issue. A casino built on the former grounds of Ontario Place may not be a terrible idea, after all.