People opposed to a gaming entertainment centre in Toronto are certainly entitled to their strong, heartfelt opinions – but they shouldn’t be allowed to present their fears and objections as facts.

To get the facts we need only to look to the experience of over a decade of casino-style gaming across the province, including right here in Toronto. The predictions of negative impacts and blight that gaming opponents like to offer have not come true.

The economic success stories in communities like Niagara Falls and Windsor, or Brantford, which leveraged casino gaming into over $100 million dollars in investment in its downtown are certainly instructive. As to the predictions regarding crime, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, when asked about  the past decade of slots operations at Woodbine Race Track said, “I certainly don’t perceive it’s been a significant public safety issue for us. It’s a well-organized, well-managed business, and they work very closely with the police.”

Reliable research shows that the development of resort-style casinos have had either no effect or a positive effect on nearby hospitality and tourism facilities, and in fact, surrounding industries have grown with the introduction of casinos.

A Toronto gaming entertainment centre as proposed by OLG will be financed without any public dollars, will be a positive new addition to the city’s tourism infrastructure, a catalyst in driving further economic development, enhance overall tourism, increase revenues, and create approximately 6,000 construction jobs and 12,000 full-time and part-time direct jobs.

The City has set out a process to determine what is in Toronto’s best interest, which includes rigorous fact finding and analysis that will result in a report to City Council as well as public consultation. The Canadian Gaming Association supports this process and looks forward to a full and factual discussion on this unique opportunity for a destination resort in Toronto. We ask all Torontonians to look past the emotion and rhetoric, and get the facts.

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Paul Burns, Vice President