The Toronto casino debate continues with no end in sight until city council officially makes its vote to the OLG. Property groups are lining up with multi-million and billion dollar investments for a development site hinging on the approval of a casino being part of those development sites. Most of those investments are centred on the downtown core near the Rogers Centre, or Exhibition Place; there’s even talk of developing on the Ontario Place grounds. But debate is beginning to come alive that should a casino be given the go-ahead, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the core of the city.
For one thing gamblers are willing to travel to lay their bets. Casino Rama and Niagara Fallsview both have jam-packed tour buses travelling to their sites each week with people willing to make the trip to a casino. Canadians also make Las Vegas a regular vacation spot, eager to embrace life on the Strip and be a part of the gambling capital of the world. Evidence suggests that players will travel to where they can play so limiting potential sites for a casino to the downtown core doesn’t make a lot of sense when looking out for the best interests of Toronto.
One important thing to remember is a casino is often a lightning rod for economic development and rejuvenation. The downtown core of Toronto is already packed to the limits with skyscrapers, hotels, entertainment venues, etc. with plenty more still to come. It doesn’t necessarily need its already confined space taken up by a casino that can be better suited for another location.
As a result there is rising talk that perhaps Scarborough would be a legitimate location for a casino. The area is in need of something to boost economic development and a trendy casino might help do the job. Still within the City of Toronto’s borders, taxes and profits would still contribute largely to municipal budgets without being congested in areas already tight for space.
A casino is meant to not only be a hub of entertainment and gaming but also a part of economic development; location is not as important because people who want to play will come to the site. So if casinos in the Orillia and Niagara regions thrive off the business they bring in, there’s no reason why Scarborough can’t do the same.