- Eliminate gambling altogether.
- Keep the current operation at Flamborough
- Keep the Flamborough operation only if it helps sustain horse racing.
- Allow casino proposals for any location.
- Allow casino proposals for any location except downtown.
This creates a problem in phrasing a question to use in the public input process required by the Province. The question, “do you approve of a casino in Hamilton” doesn’t encompass the five somewhat different positions identified above. Assessment of public opinion should also incorporate the comfort level of residents as to the potential loss of the $4.5 million dollar annual contribution to City revenues and the jobs and accompanying payroll of casino employees. One of the issues still to be determined is whether the results of public input polling are binding on Council.
Abolishing casinos will not turn the city into a gambling-free zone. In fact, most of the money gambled in Ontario, 70 per cent, is done on-line over the internet. Therefore, value is seen in retaining as much of the money wagered here in Hamilton for City uses. Compare this to another social problem, the illicit drug trade, which flourishes in spite of the fact that it is completely illegal and those involved face severe legal sanction if caught.
Eliminating the downtown as a casino site could create legal problems, since casinos have been a permitted use since approval by Council of the Downtown Secondary Plan in 2005. A developer wishing to bring a downtown proposal forward could seek legal redress or appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.
It’s important that any decision made by Council and indeed the public be fully informed. Simply saying no would not be responsible.
If you would like to comment on this post, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and put CASINO BLOG in the subject line.