While I agree with much of your editorial as it relates to Toronto’s budgetary woes, Imust correct the misconceptions it contains with regard to casinos, policing and problemgambling. The research-supported facts are that casinos require no more policing thanany other equivalent entertainment and tourist attraction, and the introduction of casinostylegaming into a community does not increase levels of problem gambling.
This was demonstrated just last year by Professor Robert Ladouceur of Laval University,who measured rates of problem gambling in the immediate market area of the LacLemay casino in Hull both before and 10 years after its opening, and found that problemgamblingrates had not increased.
In 2005, Peter D. Hart Research Associates conducted a poll of 201 community leaders inU.S. jurisdictions outside of Nevada with commercial casino gaming, including racetrackcasinos. The sample included elected officials (mayors, council members, etc.) and civicleaders (chiefs of police, chambers of commerce, etc.). They were asked that if theycould go back in time with the benefit of hindsight, would they do it all over again. Fully75 per cent said that they would vote for casinos, citing the positive benefits on theircommunities: additional tax revenues, jobs, secondary economic development andcontributions to community and charitable organizations.
You are absolutely right that it is a decision for government, both municipal andprovincial, as to whether or not casinos are built. However, such decisions ought to bemade on the facts, not misinformation.
CEO, Canadian Gaming