Casino

Twitter Accounts May Signal New Pro-Casino Push

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 22, 2013

Two new pro-casino profiles just appeared on Twitter: @HamOntCasino, which could be either an unsophisticated pitch or a parody, and @YeSCaSInoHamOnt, which looks more like what I'm tempted to call 'sincere astroturfing' rather than performance art.

Could this be the start of a new phase in the pro-Hamilton casino campaign? Council's compromise decision last winter was hardly conclusive, and as Mark Richardson recently pointed out, important movements have been happening in the background that could thrust a downtown casino back in our face next year.

Maybe it's just nothing, but contentious issues in Hamilton tend to be decided behind closed doors when the public - even the engaged public - has let its guard down and isn't paying attention.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Susan B (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 11:15:37

I sure wish someone would hold Nick Bontis and the YES side accountable for some of the things they have said throughout the debate.

When Nick Bontis said that the downtown casino would be a great benefit for the students of the city was he referring to the CAMH report that said casinos were especially harmful to youth? Was he referring to the fact that suicide attempts among youth problem gamblers are an order of magnitude higher than others?

When Nick Bontis said that the NO side would argue about the risks of a casino by making up some sad story about a poor person losing their money was he referring to the unanimous view shared by the city's health organizations about the devastating impact on the population's health?

When Nick Bontis said that the future of the city depends on economic investment, implying that there was none happening now, was he ignorant to the vast amount of development happening downtown right now? He wasn't referring to the net-negative economic impact that a casino has on a city if it doesn't become a tourist destination, was he?

When did it become OK for news outlets to print sales pitches verbatim without reporting the facts? Shame on The Hamilton Spectator. Shame on Nick Bontis for selling such inaccuracies.

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By GetYourFactsStraight (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 13:35:55

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 13:53:11 in reply to Comment 91230

What an interesting spin ... so, crack addiction could benefit student addiction researchers? Wow. We can now justify anything!

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By astro turfed (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:11:19 in reply to Comment 91230

Oh hi Nick!

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By Jarrod_B (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:01:14

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By made up name number a million (anonymous) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 20:52:31 in reply to Comment 91232

oh i agree, from my perspective, i think that a good investment is rockhammer investing in casinoes! if we choose to gamble then lets gamble here! hamilton cant not afford not to not open a casino! nick bonts and peejay are goign to save us all from hi taxes! HI TAXES!

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By Susan B (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:23:13

I don't see how I'm coming up with my own references given the following.

From CBC Hamilton:

"Bontis downplayed the arguments of those who believe a downtown casino would prey on low-income residents and those with gambling addictions. “People online will have you think that homeless people will spend their last earned loonie in a casino” he said.""

http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2013/02/04/hamilton-casino-announcement.html

In fairness, we should remind everyone at this point that Dr. Nick Bontis is a doctor in information management. Here's what local medical doctors had to say about a casino in downtown Hamilton: "The position is black and white: “Don't put a casino downtown.”"

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2270957-health-groups-pushed-against-casino-in-core/

When Nick Bontis brought up the benefit to students at the council meeting he referenced the jobs and source of entertainment that would be made available to them. He did not reference the other items you mentioned. Unfortunately, he did not mention the health studies citing the increase in suicide attempts by youth problem gamblers nor did he mention CAMH's warning that gambling risks were especially harmful for youth.

Here's the report from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on the health issues of a casino for youth: http://nocasinotoronto.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/OntarioYouthGamblingReport2010_Final.pdf

Here's a link quoting Nick Bontis' commentary around economic investment: http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/2174508-dreschel-here-s-to-the-unsubtle-mercantis/

Here's an article outlining all of the investment underway in Hamilton: http://www.financialpost.com/news/economy/economic-development-centre/detail.html?id=7195

During the debate Nick Bontis also loved to say that Vancouver had a downtown Casino and they seemed to be doing just fine with it. Unfortunately, Nick Bontis forgot to mention that Vancouver citizens successfully blocked the expansion of that casino due to the negative impacts (economic and crime) already felt from the downtown Casino.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 16:25:36 in reply to Comment 91238

Dr. Nick Bontis is a doctor in information management.

Haha, seriously? That's too funny, in a not-so-funny sort of way.

He's "managing the information" pretty well in this case.

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By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:46:24 in reply to Comment 91255

Haha. Nick Bontis' "doctorate" shouldn't be qualified as one.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:30:50

The owners of Flamboro Downs have been keeping busy.

http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1193627/hard-rock-casino-vancouver-to-open-winter-2013

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By RYDER/BONTIS CABAL (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 15:58:22

Arguing anything with our resident "experts" on all aspects of life as they'd like it is a waste of time, folks. There's nothing that they aren't expert on, and if they don't know it, it ain't worth knowin'. The depressing part is how defensive explosive 'xpert Bontis is. Ryder lets it roll off him. Bontis got flash-fuse problems AND HE'S GONNA RUN WITH/FOR Hudak or Harper! Bontis growls a lot. Expert on all Ryder doesn't, at least.

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By GetYourFactsStraight (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 16:45:51

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By astro turfed (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 17:15:01 in reply to Comment 91257

Astroturf much? This is classic astroturfing sock puppetry, right down to the phony claim "you can find research that supports both sides of the argument" NO, you can cherry pick a study like RockHammer Group or you can look at what the majority of studies say like Dr. Richardson and Dr. McKeown did. Your bit about adults making free choices could of come right out of Ronald Reagan shilling for General Electric, bravo you've studied at the knee of the masters.

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By New Propaganda Campaign (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 17:19:27

If you weren't sure after reading the blog post the comments make it very clear. There's a new propaganda campaign on, and Hamiltonians who care about this city need to step up, expose and oppose it!

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By rednic (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 22:18:30

Hamilton should look elsewhere for it's Sin tax revenue. Everyone and their brother has a Casino.

If international Village ==(a legal) Amsterdam. I'm quite sure the tourists would flock to town, with far less crime than a casino will produce.

Kesington Market is a good example in five years after Roach-a-rama opened property values more than TRIPLED (effectively pricing me out of the market).

Sin is fine as long as no other municipalities are selling the same sin.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 10:37:41 in reply to Comment 91272

I think you've accurately identified the main problem with a casino - under Ontario's new model, everyone will have one.

The economic studies the city did say only a resort-style casino would make significantly more money than what we have now, but that a resort style casino likely won't work because we would be trying to attract people from communities that already have their own casinos, and better casinos (if you look at Niagara, and what will likely be planned for the GTA). These are both an hour away from us, and even smaller communities like Brantford already have their own casinos.

So exactly where are we supposed to be attracting all these gamblers from?

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 09:44:19 in reply to Comment 91285

Very well said Robert , but can you tell me what is the difference of a Casino and a resort Casno

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 13:14:40 in reply to Comment 91285

Gaming Customer Age, Fiscal Year 2008-09
19-50: 22%
50+: 78%

Core Lottery Players, 2000 / 2009
18-24: 16% / 5%
25-34: 31% / 17%
35-44: 30% / 18%

http://www.olg.ca/assets/documents/media/strategic_business_review2012.pdf

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:22:37 in reply to Comment 91296

Thanks Noted, breaking this down it looks like young people are less likely to gamble now than they were ten years ago, and that the 50+ crowd makes up more than 3/4 of the gaming customers for the OLG.

I guess the OLG could run shuttle buses from old age homes to the casino, although if you're going to do that, why not just put slot machines in nursing homes. :-p

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 11:38:36 in reply to Comment 91385

Those number explain the massive push to re-locate in Downtowns across the Provence. People under 50 are increasingly rejecting the suburbs for downtowns. This OLG modernization is in a large part an effort to tap into the young people moving into cities. The gambling baby boomers are dying off and no one young is replacing them.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 23, 2013 at 12:06:20 in reply to Comment 91285

we will attract them from the delta bingo downtown.

apparently this is going to solve all of hamilton's money woes!

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By Double Downtown (anonymous) | Posted August 24, 2013 at 08:29:50

Maybe it is the start of the next stage of the pro-Hamilton casino campaign.

In possibly related news, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (owner of Flamboro Downs) recently announced that its Coquitlam, B.C. casino will become Hard Rock Casino Vancouver by the end of this year.
http://www.biv.com/article/20130703/BIV0120/130709988/0/BIV

Has a Hard Rock/Rockhammer/Great Canadian Gaming triumvirate been hatched for a casino/hotel project in Hamilton? It is beginning to look that way.

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By Susn B (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2013 at 11:30:00

Remember when PJ wrote that he doesn't trust findings in academic studies because they reflect the bias of the author and instead he likes to rely on anecdotes from people?

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By SCRAP (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2013 at 23:02:43

So why are people afraid of this, it is about getting those who are opposed into a bigger group, a more visible group. That is the battle getting people to actually engage in the issue opposed to doing nothing and accepting the same old BS.

I was proud of the engaged people in this city who came forward and they, we can do it again.

The hell with twitter, get into the streets and angage the real people who would be affected, those who do not engage on social media, such as twitter, they can be a formible force, if given the chance

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