Our Position Statement
We are opposed to building a casino in downtown Hamilton. We are not opposed to operating a casino in Flamborough, where the OLG currently operates a gaming facility.
NO! Downtown Hamilton Casino is a group of Hamiltonians that, as a result of doing an extensive review of the available research, is opposed to building a casino in our downtown.The research shows clearly that the closer you are to a casino, and the easier it is to get to, the greater the social costs to all citizens and the greater the negative financial impact on nearby businesses and property values.
Higher social costs for citizens - the bad numbers go up.
Studies show that proximity to a casino doubles the levels of problem gambling, which in turn results in increased spousal abuse, depression, child developmental issues, personal debt, addiction and cross-dependency, personal bankruptcies, attempted suicides, suicides, social service costs. We know that problem gambling has a profound impact on a gambler’s friends and families, which substantially increases the number of people affected by problem gambling. Individuals living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, some of whom would be within walking distance of a casino in downtown Hamilton, have a 90% increase in the odds of becoming problem gamblers.
Greater negative financial impact on nearby businesses - the good numbers go down.
Studies show that property values near a casino decrease by 10% or more once the casino opens. Part of the reason for that is because the casino never closes. It operates 24/7. Commercial buildings, apartment buildings, condominiums, etc. decrease in value which means over time they pay lower property taxes. Research also shows that 60% of businesses that existed before the casino opens, go out of business within 2 years of the casino opening. Lost jobs. Lost taxes. Failed entrepreneurs. Empty storefronts.
Believing in downtown Hamilton.
We believe a new Hamilton is emerging. We don’t believe downtown Hamilton needs a casino in order to succeed. Here’s why:
- In 2012, Hamilton will set a record value of building permits at over $1.4 billion.
- New hotel, condominium, and retail projects are already underway in our downtown, with more announced.
- The jobs outlook hasn’t been this good in years, with skilled trades, skilled sales staff, and information technologists in high demand.
- We have strong and innovative new managers for our convention facilities and for Hamilton Place, Studio Theatre, and Copps Coliseum.
- Our unemployment rate is lower than cities such as Brantford, Windsor, Niagara Falls, and even below the national average.
- Our young entrepreneurs are engaged, informed, and building their community while they build their careers.
Asking the right question.
For those who say Hamilton will miss a great opportunity if we don’t build a casino downtown, exactly what will not happen in downtown Hamilton if we pass on building a casino there?
Looking at the best research.
We’ve invested the time to review the available research and the conclusions are remarkably consistent. Casinos are not economic drivers for the host communities. In fact, they have the opposite effect.
Achieving our stated vision.
The City of Hamilton’s vision is to be the best place in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens, and provide diverse economic opportunities. Given the research results regarding the full impact of a casino on an urban environment, we don’t believe a casino in downtown Hamilton helps us to realize any or all of the elements of our stated vision.
Supporting an entertainment complex.
Some proponents suggest having a casino downtown will provide Hamilton with an entertainment complex. Currently the citizens of Hamilton own Hamilton Place, the Studio Theatre, the Convention Centre, and Copps Coliseum. We’ve just signed management contracts for all four places to strong, talented, and innovative managers. The new managers haven’t even taken over yet, and we seem to be questioning whether or not they’ll be able to deliver on their promises of a revitalized HECFI? As a group, we believe the new managers will do what exactly they said they would do - revitalize the entertainment assets owned by the citizens of Hamilton.
Using casino revenues to keep taxes down.
For years now, Hamilton has received $4.5 million each year as our share of the $123 million in annual revenue OLG generates through the 801 slot machines they operate at Flamboro Downs. We support the continuation of Flamboro Downs, the revenues we receive from OLG, and the 300 OLG-jobs, and the 3,000 horse racing related jobs it creates. Let’s keep what we’ve got and even expand it. In other words, more from the same location.