I struggled with what my first blog would be about, I have a list of items I want to share on. This topic hits home a bit and some of the arguments against seem … well, stupid to me. The economic concerns is what we should focus on.
Let me first say I have never been much of a gambler and probably will rarely go to one here in Toronto, unless visiting friends desire it. I have been to Las Vegas for a two-week period for work; the time I spent gambling was playing the nickel and quarter slots. I left Las Vegas breaking even. My best friend loves casinos and I was never interested, so in order to get me to go with him he would give me his money to play with. I never made him anything.
First let’s look at some of the social concerns heard on CBC radio’s “Metro Morning“, gambling addicts for starters. The conversation during this report brought up comparing opening a casino around gambling addicts to opening a bar next to where an alcoholic lives. There’s no, I repeat, no comparison. A writer in The Globe and Mail also feels that a casino would ruin what is left of “Toronto the Good”, as it is called in the title of the column.
Think this through! As I said in the beginning, I didn’t get the gambling bug, but I did the alcohol one. I have been in recovery for almost 4 years and cannot wrap my brain around the comparison. If someone wants to gamble, they don’t need a casino. Likewise, an alcoholic doesn’t need a bar. Gamblers can go online and alcoholics can go to the beer or liquor store and stay home.
Another concern was transportation to the casino and transit during the construction. I personally feel this shouldn’t be a concern. There are many ways to reach the casino. If the city doesn’t have public transportation readily available, there could be a shuttle provided for the casino to local stops. There are conversations in the region about improving our transit system and using some of these funds would help. I am not naive to think that this will fund all of the upgrades, but it can help. (I will save my thoughts on the transit upgrades for another entry here.)
There are many ideas as to where this proposed casino should go, one such proposal highlighted in the Toronto Star sees an estimated $50 million in annual tax revenue. In the above CBC recording, it is mentioned that there is the potential for thousands of jobs and increased convention space. In today’s economy, this could be positive. There are many places this could go, but I believe this would be a great selling point for our tourists.
My hope is the city looks at what this can do for the economy and doesn’t focus on an individual’s personal issues. We need to let everyone take ownership of their own lives and do what is best for the city.