The debate over whether or not a casino should be built on Toronto’s waterfront has raged on for the past month. While politicians and business owners are on board with the idea, the general public does not seem very pleased with the possibility that a new casino would be built on Ontario Place’s former grounds. However, public opinion has not seemed to play into the equation thus far, and the Toronto Star has called out politicians on the issue.
A recent opinion piece in the newspaper states that a referendum is the only fair way forward when it comes to determining the fate of the new Toronto casino. It should be up to the public as much as it is for politicians, since the city belongs to them as well. In 1997, the city rejected the construction of a new casino in the city during a referendum – but residents have not been given the chance to voice their opinions on the matter this time around.
While a referendum is not necessary for the local government to build a casino in Toronto, the 1997 casino debacle should have set a precedent. If the public does not want the venue, then it should not be built. However, this time, Rob Ford is in power, and he is notorious for going against the public’s wishes – but even he would like to obtain more information on the new casino before proceeding with the construction.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation states that it will be good for the economy, as profits from the casino would be pumped back into the community. However, some financial analysts claim that additional services would be required, such as policing, which would drain the local economy; so, the community would be the last source to benefit from a new casino.