Is it Wise to Stake our future on Gambling?

By Councillor Jim Chaplin

   With all the controversy swirling around the future location of a casino in the Peterborough area it is understandable if the public is confused.
    None of us know for sure what that future holds but like most things political, and this is political, common sense rarely enters the picture.
    The City seems to think they are going to create several hundred jobs and reap huge rewards by locating a casino within the city limits.
    This plan does not take into account the fact that hundreds of jobs will be lost at the existing facility, only a few minutes away.  It also doesn’t consider that residents of the city likely hold the majority of those jobs and Cavan Monaghan residents who do hold some, tend to shop in Peterborough for many products and services.
    City Councillor Leslie Parnell has stated, “We can’t just have the bad side.”  I suggest that the city has very much of the good side with very little of the bad side.
    Place a casino in the city, especially downtown and Peterborough will experience much more of the bad side and to a greater degree than exists at the current location.
    Also consider that it has been indicated that there will be no revenue sharing from table games, only from slots.
    A private operator will run the new casinos.  Does anyone think the private sector is going to pay large sums of cash to any level of government?  There is no guarantee that we will ever see the kind of revenue sharing that has been the norm since the Slots at Racetracks program was implemented.  The percentage may be the same but what will count is how the profit is calculated.
    It is my understanding that the provincial government has pumped $150 million into Caesar’s Casino in Windsor to keep it operating.  Will they end up doing the same for some or all of the new casinos?
    If you were a potential operator of a casino in this area, which would look more attractive to you; an existing facility with ample parking and loads of room for expansion, including a whole adjacent farm to the north owned by the same property owner, or a limited space in the city which has to be completely built from scratch, will likely result in costly demolition and site preparation and in the end may prove inadequate?
    Does it not make more sense to expand the existing facility and work together to bring jobs to the general area?
    Other lands in the vicinity of Kawartha Downs are also designated for entertainment and industrial development.
    Cavan Monaghan Township has proposed a joint Economic Development Committee with the City and County.  Peterborough County has endorsed that proposal.  The city has yet to respond.
    It is clear that the majority of Peterborough residents do not want a casino in the city, yet all but one of the city Councillors insists on moving forward.
    People who choose to gamble can do so from the comfort of their own home and the provincial government is considering getting into on-line gambling.  This is sure to reduce the revenue from local gambling facilities in the future.

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