Casino Redux


casino 3

My “Casino” blog a couple of days ago, had many views and many detractors. Many people obviously do not like the idea of a casino being established in Collingwood. I hate to tell you casino haters this, but it is coming, if not to Collingwood it will go to Wasaga Beach, Springwater or Clearview, one area will jump all over it. OLG is offering a license in this zone. Town council voted 8 -1 in favour Monday night to look at a destination resort casino. As I already stated I do not agree with this second kick at the can under a differant guise. But I do think it will be good for our town.
I usually agree with Keith Hull and have a tremendous amount of respect for him, but on this issue he is wrong. He stated at the council meeting “You don’t have to go too far to realize the industry is evolving… and there are communities across North America that are banking on these (resorts) only to see them not come to fruition,” he said. “Although today this presents an opportunity, that opportunity could produce a diminishing return… the industry as a whole appears to be (going online). “I’m not denying gaming won’t be part of our future… but instead, you’ll be doing it from your mobile device, TV, whatever.” My response is people go to a casino for the face to face gambling experience, watch a show, basically have a night out.
I am not really sure why there’s so much animosity towards a casino. It will create well-paying jobs, attract visitors, add money to the coffers of the town council. One of the commenters complained about $12.00 an hour jobs. There are very few good paying factory jobs around this town now, they all went either to China or down to the States. I believe that a casino will put pressure on Blue Mountain to start paying decent wages, because there will be another big employer vying for unskilled employees. As it stands now they can pick and choose who they want for the winter season. By the way $12.00 per hour is approximately what they pay at BM. The average salary for a person working in the gaming industry is $40k per year.
I have heard all the bleating about encouraging people with gambling problems to gamble. I have seen them actually when I have been standing waiting to pay for my milk at the local corner store, pulling those awful pull tabs. I had a chat with that same corner store owner a few days ago. He has people that spend $200 per week on their gambling habit, so it’s already here folks. Also for the record apart from the odd game of poker I do not gamble myself, and would probably never enter this facility if it comes.
A (previously) very good friend of mine, a few years ago, had a gambling problem. He would regularly drive to Rama at 10pm and stay there for 24 hours. His gambling problem would be no better or worse if there was a resort casino locally. I also noticed on a local blog that was full of anti- casino statistics. One was that business’s within a 1 km radius gain from a casino over that distance to 10 km show a marked drop off in business. I simply do not believe this. I think you will see more people visiting town as a drawing point to the general area.
As I write this someone else just sent me this link http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/03/05/toronto-gambling-ring-police-raids.html not sure what this has to do with a legal casino coming to Collingwood. This was organized crime (Hells Angels) and it was illegal gambling. Another commenter went off on a tangent about prosititutes and tattoo parlours (that one was weird please explain Bill). My point is there is so much misinformation on this issue.
This is a fantastic opportunity for Collingwood – BRING IT ON!!!

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6 thoughts on “Casino Redux

  1. Considering today’s news, perhaps we should put ANY casino talk on hold until the OPP complete their investigation.

  2. This artical by James Cowan appeared in McLeans just a few days ago. It makes interesting reading (especially the part about Casinos making more money from locals than visitors).
    _____________________________________________________________________

    The downtrodden look at a casino and see a way out of destitution. It doesn’t matter if the down-on-their-luck sap is an unemployed mechanic or an underpaid waitress or, say, an entire state or municipal government. As politicians confront untenable levels of deficit and debt, many—in New York, in Miami, in Detroit, in Boston—consider slots and card tables a viable financial strategy.

    Ontario has lately joined the club: Las Vegas’s big boys are now vying to build a casino in downtown Toronto. MGM dangles the prospect of a $4-billion resort, home to a new Cirque Du Soleil show. Las Vegas Sands Corp. doesn’t offer clowns but will spend $2-billion to revitalize a dowdy convention centre. Caesars wants to build twin hotel towers and has a penchant for mentioning its famous friends (Elton! Shania! Celine!) who might come to visit. All of this razzle-dazzle is meant to fuel visions of Las Vegas North, a tourism destination sucking in cash from around the world to boost the economy and cover the municipal deficit.

    But there is a flaw in this Vegas mirage: casinos are fickle businesses. Economic growth spurred by casinos is either short-term or non-existent, according to a study commissioned by the Canadian Gaming Association. Further, nobody outside Las Vegas builds casinos to attract tourists these days; they do it to stop local gamblers from leaving.

    There are two places that have built a sustainable tourism market on gambling: Las Vegas and Macau. Elsewhere, casinos cater almost exclusively to locals within driving distance. Even once glitzy Atlantic City has seen its gaming revenues fall by 36% since 2006, when casinos opened in nearby Pennsylvania. As states like Ohio and Massachusetts introduce casinos, it spurs their neighbours to do the same.

    In the last U.S. election, Rhode Island voters approved the state’s first gaming house—in part to stop losing gambling dollars to Massachusetts. Maryland expanded its casinos so its gamblers won’t wander to West Virginia. But the supply of gamblers isn’t growing, so added competition divides the market into tinier bits. This oversupply is evident on the operators’ balance sheets: Caesars last quarter reported a $20.2-million drop in its Atlantic City revenue alone, and a total operations loss of $221 million.

    Moody’s Investor Services warns this “keeping-up-with-the-Joneses” mindset currently running rampant in the northeastern United States will force operators to reach farther afield to maintain attendance levels. Which, of course, is bad news for a Toronto casino. So, too, is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call to build three new gambling resorts in upstate New York. Surrounded by a saturated market, a Toronto facility will be reliant on separating local gamblers from their cash. Proponents claim international “high rollers” could be wooed by Toronto’s charms. But let’s say you’re a Hong Kong businessman with a fondness for blackjack. It’s January. Where do you go on vacation—frigid Toronto or balmy Vegas?

    Casino proponents know this. An Ernst & Young study suggests as much as 76% of casino revenue would come from local residents. Any private operator would be expected to pay the province a significant cut of the gaming revenue; similar projects in other parts of the province pay out a “win tax” of 20%. Rob Ford, the city’s tax-averse mayor, has not objected to this idea, even though it amounts to a government surcharge on fun. Instead, he seems keen to collect a multimillion-dollar hosting fee and the creation of thousands of jobs.

    Ford would be negligent not to explore bringing new jobs to his city. But he might also contemplate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s flirtations with the gambling business. Christie backed the construction of Revel, a $2.6-billion luxury casino in Atlantic City. Open last April, the facility lost $46 million in its first six months of operations. It’s further proof of how fickle and unpredictable casino patrons can be. It’s tempting to say the citizens will pay if a Toronto casino fails. But with its reliance on the domestic market, the citizens will pay regardless.

  3. “that one was weird please explain Bill”

    Where do I start? I’m very much against introducing a slot barn to Collingwood (notice I refuse to call it a ‘casino’…we’ll get to that later). Yes, I try to use some humor while expressing my views and obviously I don’t really believe that Collingwood is going to become the “Las Vegas of the North”. Unfortunately we won’t be able to get married on a whim at 2-00am and The Craigleith Cathouse will remain a product of my over-active imagination. Unfortunately it seems that using humor can be a dangerous game in this small town. The best satire involves an element of exaggeration to make a point but many people just dont get that (I believe the OPP Serious Crimes Unit is closing in on The Admiral and an arrest is expected soon).

    I believe the term ‘casino’ is preferred by proponents because it lends an element of glamour to the concept of a slot barn. We imagine James Bond in a tuxedo surrounded by a host of sophisticated and beautiful women. And to be fair, I have nothing against that! Games like poker can be sociable, competitive and a lot of fun. But – make no mistake – there is only one reason someone would sit in front of a slot machine for hour after hour, day after day losing money…..addiction! Colin, you yourself talk about “awful pull tabs” and people spending $200 a month that they probably can’t afford. This is very real and happening in Collingwood right now. I would put slots on the same level as these pull tabs. The last…..er….’casino’ that I went in was probably about 10,000 square feet with just a couple of poker tables and the rest of the space crammed with slot machines. It’s clear which form of gambling produces the most profitable results for the owners; the slots. So let’s start calling these places what they are: slot barns.

    I’m firmly of the belief that all this talk of a ‘resort’, 400-room hotel and a workforce of 1000 is pie in the sky anyway. Our location can’t sustain that. But we must be vigilant because it may be a way of getting everyone accustomed to the idea of the slots. Gradually the 400 hotel rooms get whittled away. The convention centre turns into a couple of meeting rooms but – guess what! – the slots are still there in the proposal, large as life!

    And please don’t think I’m against personal freedom. There is a good libertarian argument in favour of personal choice and the legalisation of gambling, drugs and prostitution. But as a municipality we equally have the choice of what we promote here. We have an opportunity and a right (through democratically elected representatives and public consultation) to guide the development of our community. So, while I would defend an individual’s right to gamble (or even to take drugs), I would equally defend our rights (as individuals or municipalities) to play no part in facilitating this. Finally, the if-we-dont-do-it-someone-else-will argument is morally bankrupt as I think we all know.

    I hope I can persuade you to come across from the dark side on this issue Colin.

  4. Understanding the social & economic consequences of casinos is important. Here are a few things to read:
    http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/2073954-second-toronto-health-report-still-thumbs-down-on-casino/
    http://www.thewhig.com/2013/03/04/letters-to-the-editor-for–march-5-2013
    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/01/13/anne-golden-a-casino-in-toronto-would-do-more-harm-than-good/
    http://nocasinotoronto.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/SEIG-FINAL-REPORT.pdf

    Do not forget that for every business that may benefit that there will be businesses will suffer from locals having less disposable cash. Andmost visitors to casinos spend most if not all of their money at the casino. We already know that 95% of the revenue will leave town.

      • Agreed. We could beat each other with papers all day and be no further ahead. The first 3 I provided were all opinions although one the Chief Medical Officer of Toronto. The 4th was an academic report and although >100 pages long, summarized that casinos do typically provide a modest economic benefit but cause mild-to-moderate social problems. I read a bunch of reports like that one with similar conclusions. None of them said that casinos were evil, just that benefits weren’t that great and that there will be problems. So do you sell your soul, risk the integrity of your community for a modest benefit. Those papaers also talked about the “canabalization” of local businesses as money was spent in the casinos and not in local shops. Remember that a casino does not print money. With or without a casino there is a finite pool of money. We would just change where it is spent. And given that OLG is now handing the operation of casinos over to private operators, a substantial chunk of the profit will not go back to the province.

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