Politics

City Gambling Revenue Should Benefit the Entire City

By Ben Bull
Published September 27, 2007

So Flamborough Councillor Margaret McCarthy doesn't want to divvy up her ward's share of the Flamborough Casino slot machine profits?

Can someone please explain to me what I'm missing here? Why is it OK for the Flamborough wards to keep this entire windfall - $3.8 million last year - while the rest of Hamilton gets stiffed? Should Ward 4 keep Stelco's business taxes? I just don't get this logic!

Sure, I know we're talking about a municipally-run business here and not straight property taxes, but isn't Hamilton everyone's municipality?

Of course, we could get into the morality of collecting taxes from gambling. I've had an insider's perspective of this business and I can tell you, it's not pretty.

For every government mandated responsible gambling campaign, there's a far greater effort towards achieving the casino's main objective - to get 'em gambling and keep 'em gambling. I once attended a meeting where a Casino executive told me, "If we could put urinals by the slot machines we would."

But that's another debate entirely.

For now I can only wonder where the logic is in all this. Here's hoping that Councilor Tom Jackson gets his way and these municipal dollars can be directed to where they need to go and be used for the benefit of everyone.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 27, 2007 at 17:21:04

ahhh, gotta love amalgamation. the suburbs contribute almost nothing to city coffers, yet expect those same city coffers to pay for all their highways, big box sewers, roads, maintenance and repair cycles etc.....

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2007 at 23:35:07

there are so many things wrong with this scenario i don't even know where to begin. i still can't get over the widespread acceptance of gambling these days. no one even questions the wretched downside of this passtime.

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By Rick (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2007 at 10:58:57

Has anyone seen or do a study on what percentage each part of the city contributes to the total tax revenue of the new City of Hamilton by ex-municipalities or wards or both?

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 28, 2007 at 20:17:40

that study would probably also have to look at the cost PER taxpayer to the city as well. That's where things get right out of whack in these low density suburbs full of huge roads.

a study like that would be great...Stelco and Dofasco probably contribute more taxes than all of Dundas.

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By Mike (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2009 at 19:49:48

@ Jason: Big box sewers??? Road repair cycles and maintenance?

Have you driven through west Flamborough? No sewer systems, roads are either gravel or crumbling pavement, and, at least on my road, when the grass grows too high along the shoulders the farmers cut it.

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