The local media has been abuzz lately with news that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Comission is planning on building a new casino in the Greater Toronto Area. We’ve heard from everyone who wants to build a casino in the area and local politicians, but the media has left out one key group of people: the general public. Now, the Toronto Star has published the opinions of local residents, who want the public to know that that there is more to it than what MGM, the OLG and Rob Ford think.
It seems that the general consensus concerning the construction of the new casino is that only those with a vested interest in it are excited about the prospect. The general public does not seem to be thrilled with the idea of opening a casino in the GTA; however, the only opinions we’ve heard had been from businesses who are interested in working with the new venue.
According to George Dunbar of Toronto, “the only pressure for a Toronto casino is coming from those who have a vested interest in reaping the financial windfall”. Residents are not thrilled about the idea, but companies who want to manage the casino or work with the operator are jumping at the opportunity. Citizens would rather see the money used to build the casino spent on other community-improvement projects.
One respondent cited unemployment rates in other cities which host casinos. While the OLG has stated that the general public will benefit from the construction of the casino, it seems that employment rates will go unchanged. According to Alice Mawhinney of Toronto, Niagara Falls and Windsor – two cities which host Ontario casinos – have some of the lowest employment rates in the country.
As such, it seems that citizens are not truly on board with the idea of building a new casino in Toronto – and it is interesting to hear their thoughts. However, it still remains to be seen whether or not the local government will take their opinions into consideration.