Ontario’s casino opposition made its plea

Gateway Casinos seeks at installing new venue in Canada.
Gateway Casinos seeks at installing new venue in Canada.

Several community members warned the city council about the dangerous impact that opening a new business can have in the North Bay area.

Canada.- Many members of Ontario’s community made strong warnings to city politicians about the negative outcome that might occur if a new casino is opened in the North Bay area. A small business owner, a representative of local churches, a Catholic nun who has worked with gambling addicts and a parent who’s daughter’s life has been damaged by addiction spoke to the council and argued that the new entrepreneurship may hurt not only businesses, but the most vulnerable residents as well.

Small business owner Michael Ianiro highlighted a study completed by Baylor University that suggests a community the size of North Bay would see nearly US$1 million in bankruptcies, more than US$2 million annually in lost productivity and more than US$5 million a year in lost wages and employment as a result of a casino.

Ianiro has recently surveyed 70 local businesses on their views of a casino in the city, as he told the council. He explained 43 were against the new casino and that only nine believed it would be positive for the community. The remaining 18 stated they didn’t have enough information.

The business owner also noted that the new facility would have to generate US$40 million in revenue in order to provide a US$2 million share to the city. And that’s money that will come out of existing spending within the community, he declared.

Jane Howe, representing a number of local churches, said a Nipissing District Social Services Administration Board report estimates a casino in North Bay will result in up to 3,000 more problem gamblers in the community and pegs the social costs at between US$3.8 million and US$5.7 million.

Mayor Al McDonald explained that the city agreed five years ago to host a new gaming facility subject to negotiations, confirmation and acceptance of the would-be private-sector operator, revenue sharing, site location and derived community benefit. He added that council does not yet know what’s being proposed and will still want to see such details.

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited was selected in December following a bidding process held by the OLG to run five casinos in the North, including North Bay, and six others in southwestern Ontario.