Special Report: Casino

We Need to Ask the Right Economic Questions About a Downtown Casino

What effect will a casino have on private development, residential property values and existing businesses? What will it do to future business prospects?

By Sean Burak
Published December 13, 2012

I want to commend Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr for attending yesterday's casino subcommittee meeting and asking some important questions. I hope Councillor Farr will continue to be deeply involved in the process despite not being an official subcommittee member, as his presence was much appreciated and his passion for the downtown showed through.

We need to ensure that staff investigates the real economic impact of casinos in downtown areas beyond the direct casino jobs and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) kickbacks.

What effect will a casino have on private development? What effect will it have on residential property values and vacancies? What effect will it have on existing businesses? What will it do to future business prospects?

I think we'll find that casinos will reduce residential development and reduce new business growth, and may actually cause a decline in current business successes in the fallout zone surrounding it. The tax impacts of these effects will be devastating.

All of these costs need to be weighed. Otherwise, we will find ourselves stuck with a decades-long terrible deal that sucks money from the community.

We have already been told that the casino will end up catering mostly to local gamblers. What this means is that Hamilton money is going to be funneled up to the province via the OLG. We are only going to receive a minuscule trickle of that back - less than five percent of the total.

Can we afford to give 95 percent of our citizens' gambled money to the province? I don't think so. Each dollar funneled up is a dollar not spent within the community.

We already suffer under provincial downloading of social services. We can't afford it now. Will we be able to afford it when these service needs become even greater?

If our downtown tax base shrinks in the shadow of a casino, will we be able to afford any of it?

All of this matters. The $4.5 million a year in slots kickbacks will not make up for these losses.

Council needs to make sure that city staff understand all of these aspects before they report back to the subcommittee. We need the whole story.

I fear that the impression taken away from yesterday's meeting is that the social side is a "con" and the economic side is a "pro". If we don't question the full economic story, we will suffer for acting on a lack of information.

Sean Burak was born in Hamilton but raised elsewhere in Ontario. He returned to his birth town at the turn of the century and has never looked back. Sean is the owner of Downtown Bike Hounds.

65 Comments

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 07:51:29

Sill undecided on the c@sino issue, and many thanks to RTH for all the articles and opinions that inform us all. While I understand some of the negative social effects, I can't overcome the notion of gov't's role in a nanny state. For the same reason people should have the freedom to raise urban chickens, so should they have the option of making up their own minds about gambling. And if we are concerned about the "weak and vulnerable", then why aren't we banning lotteries and re-instituting prohibition. If there's a difference, please explain. And BTW, I do not gamble, and have no interest in attending gambling venues.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:15:00 in reply to Comment 83877

I don't object to a casino on principle, I just object to the way the government is pushing for a downtown location and has absolved itself of the responsibility to deal with the expected damage.

Scrape away the personal concern for the families of gambling addicts and just look at it from the hard numbers perspective that Burak provides and it's still a terrible deal for the citizens of Hamilton.

We're getting ripped off here.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:54:35 in reply to Comment 83925

Not to mention the fact that Hamilton has two options: yes or no.

If we choose yes, the way it's been presented so far tells us the OLG then controls all other aspects:

  • Location
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Operation

The only real control we retain is restricting location choices through zoning. And even this control is rather weak.

This is a terrible deal.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 16, 2012 at 05:51:12 in reply to Comment 83929

Actually we have very little control of location through zoning. Wherever zoning allows a hotel is where a casino can be built. This eliminates the West Harbour because CN opposed any residential development there.

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By anon (anonymous) | Posted December 16, 2012 at 06:00:08 in reply to Comment 83993

What are you talking about? The OMB judgement in favour of residential development. CN only stipulated 150 meters from their tracks. All is a go for mixed residential AND commercial mixed use in West Harbour. Funny, no champions at City Hall announcing that?

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:23:49 in reply to Comment 83877

Captain, I’d be worrying less about the “nanny state” and more about an increasingly fraudulent, morally-vague government willing to eat its own to maintain the economic and class status quo... but that’s just me.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 08:17:40 in reply to Comment 83877

So now we are obliged to build a casino in downtown Hamilton so that people can exercise their free choice to go or not go?

How about instead, those who want to gamble can excercise their free choice to take a shuttle out to flamboro downs, or drive to Brantford or Niagara or wherever?

What about the free choice of all the residents and business owners in the downtown who want the free choice of living and working in a location that is not economically or socially depressed by a casino? What about their 'free choice'?

You make it seem as if we could be the white knights of gamblers, striking a blow against the forces that with-hold them from being able to gamble downtown - the reality is that no gamblers need a casino downtown, but the future of the downtown core actually depends on the positive/negative impacts of new developments in the core.

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 08:21:50

I hear you on everryting you said , but juste ONE thing , why is the City complaning of the province downloading on this city , and when this C@sino get built OLG will get 95 percent of the cut and the city not even a 5 percent , and tell me who whould want to get biss near a C@sino ... im not talking about Hotels the C@will already have all that and more , but its the smal biss pls that are going to get hit hard

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 09:14:13

Flamborough C@sino has lots of parking, and conveniently accessible for out of towners - exactly as a C@sino should be.

If we build one in downtown Hamilton, how much free surface parking will it need? Or will the parking go underground or in a structure? How much will that cost? Who will pay for that?

Keep the C@sino in Flamborough.

This issue might provide a good opportunity for downtowners and residents of Flamborough, both who seem to want the C@sino in Flamborough and outside of the downtown, to build bridges and work together.

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:53:43 in reply to Comment 83885

From what i herd so far its a privet companie thats going to but bids to take over the C@sino OLG will furnish all the games with our tax money

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 09:37:27

"So now we are obliged to build a ca$ino in downtown Hamilton so that people can exercise their free choice to go or not go?" --- Nope. Did not say that. I'd say we should have the freedom to do so.

"How about instead, those who want to gamble can exercise their free choice to take a shuttle out to flamboro downs, or drive to Brantford or Niagara or wherever?" -- So it's ok for someone else to have the problems? Is this classic NIMBYISM (Again not picking on you, just devil's advocate here as I'm still trying to decide for myself)

"You make it seem as if we could be the white knights of gamblers, striking a blow against the forces that with-hold them from being able to gamble downtown - the reality is that no gamblers need a ca$ino downtown, but the future of the downtown core actually depends on the positive/negative impacts of new developments in the core." --- Completely agree with this. Is there any source and reference that makes this case? I'd love to read it.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:15:05 in reply to Comment 83889

Here's the thing: no one wants a casino in their back yard. So why have one at all?

Hamilton will NOT be the economic winner if a casino is built. It's simple math.

There is simply no plus side here for anyone but the OLG, the private operators, and the hotelier who builds the attached facility. All of these people want our money, and they aren't going to give it back.

It's simple economics: there is NO WAY that this can make us money, because the money is being made by these other groups instead.

Since we won't make money, and nobody wants to live next to a casino, the easy solution is to say no.

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-12-14 10:16:02

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:08:31 in reply to Comment 83895

As Seancb responded yesterday arguing in favour of backyard chickens, "Just because a small group of irresponsible idiots can use these things to annoy others, or put them in danger, doesn't mean we should ban them altogether."

So, can I make the same arguement saying that because 'some people' cannot control their addictions we should ban all vices for everybody?

You seem to want it all Seancb.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:18:26 in reply to Comment 83923

Did I ask for a gambling ban?

No.

Did I ask for logical regulations of activities that can impact others?

Yes.

When you respond to my true concerns (mainly, economic viability), I'll respond to you.

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-12-14 12:20:35

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 09:53:31

What is not being discussed is the amount of non-gambling revenues a private operator expects from a casino. The Mega casino in Toronto study from E&Y assumes 20% of the predicted $1.4 Billion the project will bring in yearly is non-gambling revenue. Industry average for non-gambling revenue is closer to 25%. That 25% is food and shopping dollars not going to local businesses, just more money staying inside the Casino doors.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:17:30 in reply to Comment 83893

This is ALL ABOUT MONEY for every single casino proponent.

And I can guarantee you they aren't fighting this hard for a casino because they want to make money for the citizens of Hamilton.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:25:12 in reply to Comment 83896

Larry DiIanni tweeted this morning:

The operative word is 'build' not 'stop' I think many are into 'City Stopping' not 'City Building'

This was in reference to the business people who signed the letter stating their position against a casino.

From my perspective, this means DiIanni does not consider small business owners to be city builders.

I suppose he only considers you a "city builder" if you support a mega-project that makes a few people rich (off the backs of the average taxpayer)?

Last I checked, every single business owner and resident of Hamilton - especially downtown - is helping to build this city up.

Larry's comments are insulting to those of us who are actually trying.

From what I can tell, the only projects in this city that have actually worked to build something positive have been the small ones, building organically one address at a time.

I'd like to see Larry point out one mega project that's actually had a positive impact downtown... crickets chirp

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-12-14 10:26:14

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:02:43 in reply to Comment 83901

Sean sez: Larry's comments are insulting to those of us who are actually trying.

Larry's comments sound like someone who's being paid to shill for a casino.

C. Kirk sez: So it's ok for someone else to have the problems?

Apparently. Flamboro already has a gaming facility, and as far as can be told, the risks associated with gambling are being properly managed there. Lumping Downtown Defenders in with NIMBY's isn't quite fair, because with Flamboro we still have a gaming facility in our metaphorical backyard. We just think, it ain't broke, so don't fix it.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:12:49 in reply to Comment 83918

DiIanni

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted December 15, 2012 at 11:08:58 in reply to Comment 83924

I know Di Ianni better than most as he was my old principal back in high school. Like it or not, he calls it how it is, he is a well spoken and very intelligent person. You have misquoted me before Seancb. This makes me question how trued your wheelings are. How about showing context to why Di Ianni would react that way to you. You likely said something illogical.

Comment edited by PearlStreet on 2012-12-15 11:44:19

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 15, 2012 at 14:44:56 in reply to Comment 83968

I made that exact comment and that was his response.

When did I misquote you?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:20:47 in reply to Comment 83924

Y'know, as much as Matt Jelly takes some flack for his foul mouth, I can't think of any time he's been that rude. Stay classy, Larry.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:22:24

Matt Jelly on his radio show said the $4 million in hosting fees Hamilton gets from Flamborough Downs is 1/3 of 1% or simply 0.33% of our budget. Is having a casino downtown worth that paltry amount? Do we need one at all?

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:22:24

Proposed Solution:

Locate it by the beach strip; vastly under utilized, farther from lower income areas and give more tourisim reasons to come here. It can gather money spent by those passing by without solely sucking Hamilton and its downtown core dry while raining the profits province-wide.

This could satisfy everyone as a whole democratically, not just Seancb and his friends of backyard chicken supporters.

Comment edited by PearlStreet on 2012-12-14 10:37:13

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:40:06 in reply to Comment 83899

Oh yes, the pro-chicken-anti-casino agenda that's holding Hamilton back. Please.

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:52:26 in reply to Comment 83909

No relevance, I agree. People need to know where your opinions lie if you are so loudly vocal however. Welcome to the world of political leadership.

Consider my proposal a possible satisfactory answer to BOTH pro and anti casino parties. It could benefit you as a downtown business owner by bringing tourism, something Hamilton has barely uncovered at all. The most popular reason to visit Hamilton was found to be people visiting their families? That should change, maybe not with a casino, but we need something.

You don't don't like the casino, that's ok... Suggest a different attractive tourism money maker, we'll be getting progressive then.

Comment edited by PearlStreet on 2012-12-14 11:14:57

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 17, 2012 at 08:07:25 in reply to Comment 83915

Tourism is a side effect of a great city. A casino will not make us a tourist destination. Tourists go to places that are unique and interesting. How can we be unique? An OLG casino is not the answer. Leveraging our natural strengths to create an amazing city is. I would argue it's the only answer.

Unfortunately this is a long-term project. So we had better start right now if any of us want to see Hamilton succeed in our lifetimes. If we build a casino, we might as well set our revitalization back 10 years.

Do people go to Paris because they built the Eiffel Tower? New York because of the statue of liberty? Toronto because of the CN tower?

No. They go because they are great, vibrant cities.

Let's stop fooling ourselves with these ridiculous mega-projects and start laying the real groundwork.

Why would anyone visit Hamilton when we can barely convince people to LIVE here?

We are finally seeing an influx of a new generation into our core. These are the people who will make or break our future. Are we going to kill this momentum before it even gets started?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:59:37 in reply to Comment 83915

I have no problem with people knowing where my opinions lie. That is precisely why I am so vocal.

Niagara is home to a natural wonder of the world, and is an international tourist destination. It happens to also have a casino. Toronto is the biggest city in Canada and is an international tourist destination. It may get a casino also.

Do you truly believe that a casino in Hamilton will offer tourists something so unique that they will skip Toronto or Niagara?

A casino will NOT make Hamilton a tourist destination no matter where we put it. The only way casinos creat tourist destinations is if you create a city that lives and breathes gambling: atlantic city, vegas, etc. A single provincially controlled casino is not going to attract travellers to Hamilton. Even the experts told us this at the subcommittee meeting yesterday. It's not just my opinion.

My position on city building goes beyond tourism. I want Hamilton to be the most prestigious city in Canada for people to move to and call their home. Ecenomic development will follow them here. I want positive snowball effects, not negative ones. Perhaps my goals are set too high for others to be able to relate?

Our city is worth more than a crappy (get it?) OLG casino.

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted December 15, 2012 at 11:49:17 in reply to Comment 83920

Yes, they are too high. Think logically and realistically. I'll give you credit for being a optimistic dreamer though.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted December 15, 2012 at 18:57:30 in reply to Comment 83971

What is high enough, then? What is a logical and realistic goal, in your opinion?

To be honest I'm still on the fence about the casino issue, in terms of both location and whether we should even have one. However, I do feel strongly that one achieves no more than what one strives to achieve... seek less, and it's most likely that "less" will happen.

I do think people are asking the right questions (not all of which will have answers, or answers that carry a lot of certainty). But is it logical to seek something less than what is possible?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 15, 2012 at 14:48:18 in reply to Comment 83971

So I should set lower goals?

Should we settle for an OLG casino as if it's our only hope?

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-12-15 14:48:37

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:27:48 in reply to Comment 83899

Proposed solution: All communities being held hostage by the OLG band together and say "no", and offer them the privilege of keeping the slots at our racetracks. If it ain't broke....

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:30:30

I have a question if anyone knows for sure, if Hamilton says 'no' to a downtown casino but 'yes' to keeping it in Flamboro, will OLG support this? I have been under the impression OLG is getting out of the horse business and therefore, out of Flamboro altogether (ie - Ft. Erie). Can somebody clear this up for me please?

Comment edited by RightSaidFred on 2012-12-14 10:40:18

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 14:34:21 in reply to Comment 83904

Ryan, can you of all people clarify this for me so I can move forward with a more informed opinion?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 15:11:56 in reply to Comment 83941

This is a complicated question. Pasuta explained some of it to me after the meeting. There is a requirement that OLG lease the land from the owners up there, so that they can put it out for tender, and then once the bid is selected, the lease transfers to the new operator - or something like that. But there is a hard deadline on that lease agreement. Perhaps someone else can answer more accurately?

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:38:22

Off topic but relevant. NORC social costs for Problem and Pathological gamblers inflation adjust from 1999 to 2011.

Problem - $953/year

Pathological - $ 1600/year

All in US dollars.

Now let's apply Dr. Richardson's data to these values and find out what the net gain for Hamilton's casino will be.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:42:36 in reply to Comment 83908

If the city won't analyze the data, it may be up to us to do so.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:47:12

OK, so we'll do that. I believe she estimates 1000 pathological gamblers and I'm unsure of her problem gambler numbers.

1000 x $1600 = $1,600,000 in cost not including costs for problem gamblers.

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By jake (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:52:12

Good morning. I'm going to come out of lurking on RTH for a few minutes.

First, I'd like to say that I am in no way against a casino for social or moral reasons.

That said, I'm surprised no one's talked about the (potential lack of) commercial viability of a casino in Hamilton. The OLG is relatively opaque with its revenue and profit figures for each of the individual casino operations, but I would be very interested in any feasibility studies they've done to date.

If I were a private developer looking to open a casino, I would think I would first look at Markham, Toronto, or Oakville, simply because the demographics are better.

This is not NIMBYism - I question whether a casino in Hamilton is the best use of capital for OLG. The government (and by extension, OLG) has a responsibility to the taxpayers to use public funds in the most efficient way possible.

Comment edited by jake on 2012-12-14 10:56:41

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By DanJelly (registered) | Posted December 15, 2012 at 23:47:03 in reply to Comment 83914

A few relevant facts:

-The OLG has identified 29 "gaming zones" across the province where they are looking at putting in a casino. So we'll have competition.

-Since Hamilton gets nothing from the tables, we might as well consider them competition in terms of the City's direct share from the slots.

-While the City of Burlington has formally said 'no', Halton Region has not. It's uncertain what this could mean, but it's another potential complication. There could be more than one casino between here and Toronto.

My take: Even if a casino is a profitable enterprise for the OLG and the private operator, we might find that subtracting the social and policing costs from our share leaves us with less than we're already getting from our current setup in Flamboro.

The irony is, the track might actually be the key to making our casino experience different than what most others will offer.

Comment edited by DanJelly on 2012-12-15 23:47:58

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:57:57

I've always felt that a casino in downtown Hamilton would not fulfill the desire to bring new money into Hamilton's economy. We do not have the potential to draw people from a neighbouring country (nor, do we don't have a favourable exchange rate that enticed Americans here in the first place), and we already have Casino Niagara in the region -which, for a few reasons could be argued has the favourable elements that make it workable.

So, in this model, idealistically we'd simply be shaking money out of the pockets of those within our own region. To which that money would be diverted throughout the province.

Wouldn't we be better served to develop attractions, facilities, entertainment, etc., within our downtown that draws people in to spend money that stays in Hamilton? Continuing to revitalize the city by putting money in the pockets of our own entrepreneurs?

It seems that there's only one business that may stand a chance of gaining a boost from this -- the hotels. Even that could be limited due to the regional draw that the casino would have.

In my opinion, that is why a downtown casino is not worth supporting. The problem gambling argument is simply more support for what has the potential to be a net drain on downtown Hamilton.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:04:58 in reply to Comment 83917

Agreed. Although I think that it's important to consider the social implications, for me, the economic argument is the most important one. It will not make us money and we cannot afford another huge money draining sinkhole here.

I oppose the Aerotroplis and the stadium for the exact same reason.

And my support for smaller scale livability initiatives is all to the same end: economic sustainability.

We need to create an environment that attracts residents, particularly younger people, and we need to do so in dense neighbourhoods which are more efficient (this means mostly lower Hamilton). Businesses will follow them, both as employers and as destinations for their shopping dollars. This is the only way we will survive financially.

Begging for scraps from the OLG is not a sustainable financial plan.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:09:18

Slodrive, currently a hotel is part of the package a private casino operator is to be bidding on. Current hotels will have to compete with the proposed casino hotel. Also we are sandwiched between Niagara casino and the proposed $3 billion Toronto complex. Hamilton will be competing with the two biggest tourist draws in Ontario. I highly doubt hotels will be busy from a casino here. Tourism Hamilton confirmed that the biggest tourist draw here is "to visit family".

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By Doubtful Guest (anonymous) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 13:42:04 in reply to Comment 83919

That's true and also why it was no small farce for the City to dump $1.7m annually year to bankroll TH and bunk it in premium office space.

http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/762904--city-tourism-agency-dissolved

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:39:58 in reply to Comment 83933

Forget the past tense. That story just describes an organizational sleight-of-hand "made to protect members of the board from liability". Tourism Hamilton is now run in-house by Economic Development. It will be interesting to see what sort of taxpayer money continues to be shovelled into it.

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By j (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 13:56:29

This seems to be to be a paradigmatic example of govt insularity. The province wants money to give to cities and pay for things like doctor salaries, a c@sino brings in money. The externalities are borne by private people and first their families and second the welfare state. We are already a nanny state Captain Kirk. We take care of people who fall below the poverty line and, much more dramatically, the health effects of this. Addictions are increasingly being seen as disablements warranting disability benefits. But unless you can get the operator to pay for those externalities you are most likely getting a bad deal. It's a bit ironic that the govt is currently going after tobacco manufacturers for their ill-gotten wages of sin and yet ploughing ahead with their own.

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By Dane (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 14:12:18

One thing I keep reminding myself is that this isn't about banning gambling. Saying no to a casino isn't an attempt at prohibition here.

I think others have made the point as well; is this a good plan, does it advance the City? This is a business. Does it improve the City. Economically and socially. Normally, this would be predominately a private enterprise decsion but in this instance it's a public business. So we can have input. Whitehead wants to talk about nimbyism with respect to his wards sacrifice (mental health facility) for the public good being a counter point to a anti-casino agenda but, it just isn't comparable. You can't link social services to government business(casinos) that is just foolish. They don't operate under the same mandate.

I believe Sean is spot on. Concentrate on the money. Where's it coming from, who stands to benefit? And don't just think locally, as much as in pains me to say, Sam at the gaming committee meeting is right this is a province wide push to recoup from a failed cross border initiative.

I have said from the outset, this is lazy city building.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 14:53:08

OLG has a lease with the owners of Flamborough Downs that is expired March 31/2013. OLG has said they will not renew longterm, only short term to bridge building a new facility. The requirement for the identified 29 gaming zones to have new facilities is a requirement under their modernization plan. Whoever agrees to a casino and is accepted loses most control on deciding where it goes. Hope that answers your question. I may be wrong on some of this so whoever please feel free to correct or elaborate.

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2012-12-14 14:54:15

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 15:35:21 in reply to Comment 83942

so what you are saying is, OLG is getting out of Flamboro because they want to build their own facility 'somewhere' and if any municipality on the list approves of a casino, the OLG and not the specified city gets to pick the locale? If this is true, that's insanity and I would want no part of it. Just like the TiCats demanding where we put 'our' stadium. For me, it would be the principle of the matter. Someone stated it above: lazy city building for sure. If of course, that is true?

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 16:20:08

Actually OLG will only be granting licences to private operators who will be bidding for the right to build and run the facility. OLG will not be owning or operating. OLG will get a cut of the action only. Operator profits after expenses for the Toronto casino are expected to be 20%. This number may be guaranteed, not positive.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 15, 2012 at 09:05:47

can someone please clarify for me, but here is my understanding of how these casinos work: OLG owns the licence rights, but apart from that, the entire venture is a private development with private funds. OLG, the owner/operators and the city all get a share of the earnings. The development pays taxes and goes through the usual development process in each city with no government ownership or financial involvement.

Is this correct?

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted December 15, 2012 at 19:42:00

If the casino is such a great idea, why does it need to be imposed on a community?

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 16, 2012 at 08:54:22

That came from city staff, please watch the recording of the meeting. It was pretty clear from what I heard.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted December 20, 2012 at 07:45:27

Here is the link to a casino-related article titled "Hamilton mayor's email causes ruckus" by Andrew Dreschel in today's Hamilton Spectator: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 04, 2013 at 08:01:29

This opinion piece titled “City is playing renewal roulette” by David Premi and Paul Shaker was published in today’s Hamilton Spectator: http://www.thespec.com/opinion/article/8...

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 04, 2013 at 23:52:32

Here is the link to the "In the Neighbourhood with Matt Jelly and Gunner" talk show on CFMU radio on January 3, 2013 with guest P.J. Mercanti discussing the downtown casino issue. It begins at the 22:38 mark of the program and goes for about an hour. http://www.mixcloud.com/player/

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2013-01-04 23:55:23

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 05, 2013 at 15:09:41 in reply to Comment 84727

The link referred to in the original post no longer directly connects to the radio program containing the discussion between Matt Jelly and P.J. Mercanti. Here is a reposting of the direct link: http://www.mixcloud.com/jamie-smith5/in-...

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2013-01-05 15:54:43

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By Dane (registered) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 23:48:41 in reply to Comment 84738

I listened to that today. I was a little disappointed. It really was an amazing opportunity to discuss the topic. The chuckling from Jelly was pretty bad at times. I did like how Gunner reigned them in but I think he should have done it more. I guess the format was a little too open ended.

I think guys like PJ are much like Mayor Bob. They can cook their goose if you just let them keep talking. For example, not reading reports and dress codes.

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