October 29, 2012
T.O. casino would rake in millions: Report
By Don Peat, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Toronto could hit a multimillion dollar jackpot with a casino, according to city staff.
The much-awaited staff report on a Hogtown casino was released Monday. The report bets that the city, if it allows the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to set up a casino in Toronto, could be raking in anywhere from $32 million to $168 million a year in hosting fees, around $250 million if the casino is on city-owned land, up to $27 million in property taxes, and a net GDP in the range of $640 million.
A jobs jackpot would also come with a casino. Staff estimate the facility would generate 3,600 to 8,500 construction jobs and, if an integrated entertainment complex is built, an estimated 4,400 to 7,300 new jobs.
Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee will consider the report next Monday. They’ll be asked to approve public consultation on a casino and ask for a report back by February or March 2013.
“It must be noted that this potential revenue would have significant impact on providing fiscal sustainability to the city’s annual operating budget by eliminating the need for one-time revenues and providing financial flexibility to meet growth pressures (e.g. transit expansion),” city manager Joe Pennachetti states in the report.
The city report is based on numbers provided in a consultant’s report by Ernst and Young.
The report also notes Toronto Public Health finds problem gambling is a “serious public health concern” and increasing access to gambling “is associated with an increase in the prevalence of problem gambling.”
“A casino located anywhere in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) will likely increase problem gambling and associated health risks for Toronto residents,” the report states. “Decisions regarding a new casino in the GTA should consider the likely increase in problem gambling and associated health impacts.”
The report states Toronto Police representatives told the consultants that the service doesn’t anticipate an increase in crime from a casino “other than what would be expected to result from any new large development and/or influx of people.”