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Toronto Casino Debate: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

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A proposal of MGM’s casino vision for Toronto (YouTube)

Toronto’s executive committee will be meeting today to discuss the possibility of a casino being built in the city. The committee will hear from some nearly 200 deputants at today’s meeting before deciding whether to gamble on the downtown venture.

Here’s what you need to know about the proposed Toronto casino project. And you can watch the debate, live here.


1. It Would be a Destination Resort

Some fear a casino downtown would increase rates of criminal activity within the city, but according to the Public Sector Gaming Study Commission, “The majority of the information collected during the past decade indicates that there is no link between gambling, particularly casino-style gambling, and crime. The security on the premises of gambling facilities, the multiple layers of regulatory control, and the economic and social benefits that gambling seems to offer to communities are effective deterrents of criminal activity.”

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8. Problem Gamblers

Worldwide rates of problem gambling hover consistently around 0.5% and 1.5%, according to research from 2008.

“No operator wants to do business with problem gamblers, and actively works to keep them out of casinos and provide access to help,” says TorontoCasinoFacts.ca.

The province has many measures in place to help problem gamblers including a hotline, support through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and a self-exclusion program.

The City would also make it a priority that any establishment, if approved, would have limited hours of operation, not 24-hours and would not offer things such as customer loyalty programs.


9. The Mayor Supports It

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(Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford/Twitter)

Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, supports the idea of a Casino in downtown Toronto, saying in an open letter, “After reviewing all available information, consulting with my Council colleagues and members of the public, I am confident Toronto faces a golden opportunity.”


10. Opponents

It’s interesting to note that some councillors who traditionally support the mayor’s agenda, such as Denzil Minnan-Wong and John Parker, are opposing the proposed downtown facility. Other vocal opponents include local residents and councillors Adam Vaughan and Mike Layton.

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