The next argument that is always raised is the specter of increased problem gambling and attendant social costs. These concerns need to be met head on with the hard fact that problem gambling rates are – and remain at – approximately one percent of the population both before and after legal gaming is introduced or expanded. CGA sponsored groundbreaking research on this subject, which compiled the results of more than 100 problem gambling propensity studies done across North America and around the world, over a 20-year period.
Another oft-stated misconception is that casinos are a tax on stupid people, and they prey on the poor. While this might be great rhetoric, it isn’t backed up by the facts. Research shows the average casino player is slightly older, wealthier, and better educated than the general public. They may not dress in evening clothes like the people did in Monte Carlo in the 50s and 60s, but then, neither do the people who go to the ballet and the opera.
A casino in Toronto will immediately be able to tap into the already existing city tourism market of more than 10 million overnight visitors annually, and has the potential to add to this number.
If the decision is made to proceed, the message that needs to be put forward by the city, the province, and the industry is that, if properly situated and sized, a casino would be a significant new addition to Toronto’s tourism infrastructure, which already includes professional sports, music and entertainment, theatres, museums and galleries, restaurants, and clubs.
By Bill Rutsey, President and CEO of Canadian Gaming Association