Friday, 14 December 2012

No casino in my back yard please!

I have been doing a bit of looking around and I have found some more information on casinos and their impact on the local area.  I also found this site which is informing people about this casino project (that's where I found to mouse trap image).  Please go over to the site and learn more about what is going on there.

I have also learned that OLG is trying to move the casino in Hamilton to a more downtown area and there has been a facebook group created to oppose that project.  There is a very lively discussion there as well with a lot of interesting information including this image:
While reading more on this topic of gambling and casinos the most popular voices from the support of casinos can be summed up in the following statements:

  1. Gamblers will go where the action is no matter what any health, counselors or anyone else for that matter. May as well be here so we can reap the benefits.
  2. If people might destroy their life due to gambling so we should not allow it then also we should not allow smoking, drinking or eating fat/sweet food.
#1. The question of benefits is a good one, here is a quote that I have found in a few places but couldn't verify 100%:
"In Atlantic City, within 4 years of the casinos opening, 40% of the city’s restaurants closed as did 1/3 of the retail businesses."
The reason for this was that the casinos became the "only game in town" and began to expand to include eating facilities and merchandise shops killing any other small market business.  Gamblers also prefer not to leave their gambling site if they don't have to.  Building a casino anywhere in Woolwich is not going to help any surrounding business.  This is not sustainable growth and development.  Being a resident of Breslau I see the township routinely overlooking us for services despite our rapid population grown.  We don't have a library, pool, arena or any other funded recreation facilities, and now they think Woolwich's big contribution to the Breslau area is a casino! I am thoroughly unimpressed.

#2. Now the question about what behaviors and products should be controlled by government and which ones shouldn't is much more difficult to answer.  However, this is why we have public debate and why all opinions should be heard and discussed so that the residents of the areas where these products are provided should be able to collectively decide.  The decision should also ensure that the community has been engaged and a large enough proportion of the residents (not just respondents) should be in favour of this project.

  • Smoking is a very highly controlled behaviour because it doesn't only affect the health of the smoker.  It also affects the health of all those around the smoker by second hand smoke.  Cigarette packages also have strong warning messages on them informing the smoker regarding the behaviour they are engaged in.
  • Drinking and alcohol are also very tightly controlled in Ontario with sales only permitted in certain licensed establishments.  Servers of alcohol and there place of work can be found criminally responsible if they over serve a customer and that customer gets into there car and gets into an accident.  I don't know if the law extends to the black jack dealer in a casino in the same way.
  • Fast food / unhealthy food choices are slowly becoming more regulated as well, where more nutrition information needs to be made more available.
The reason that these 3 behaviours are regulated by government is because of the potential to addiction and thus significant health problems. For those of us who do not suffer from true addiction we have a hard time trying to understand what it means.  For others it is a very real and very significant problem.  Problem drinkers, gamblers, eaters and smokers do NOT choose to have this problem.  Yes, they may have made poor choices earlier to get to the problem stages, but they don't choose to loose all their money at a card table, they don't choose alcoholism that destroys their lives, they don't choose to constantly smoke despite the fact they can't breath.  Mental health addiction is just as sad as cancer and if I can do something /  anything to prevent even one person from that I would.  Just as I would do anything to help someone avoid a cancer diagnosis.  Before people discount this and say, people should be free to do whatever they want, lets consider the argument of a publicly funded health care system.  You pay for the health care of others, I would rather pay for the prevention of these types of problems instead of creating a catalyst.  A catalyst that will increase health care costs as well as costs of other social programs.
"The evidence shows that the closer you live to a casino, the more likely there is to be gambling and problem gambling" - Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s medical officer of health (Proximity feeds addiction: Richardson).

To close I offer you this document Position Statement by City of Toronto Medical Officer of Health.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

OLG wants a Casino in my backyard - I think NOT

So if you are a resident of the Township of Woolwich you would have received this card in the mail this past week (December 2 - 8, 2012).  I totally missed it and had to go digging in my recycling box to find it.  Let's just hope that the township didn't send this out on purpose on the same day as the flyers.  That would just make me angry.

Apparently, "The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has approached the Township to find out if interest exists concerning the possible establishment of a gaming facility in the municipality."

As a resident of the Township of Woolwich this concerns me greatly.  A casino is an extremely bad idea, it is not about the money it is about how you obtain that money.  We have to think long term about the values that we want in our township.

"Why is Council open to considering a possible gaming facility? It has been estimated that gaming facility can contribute approximately $4 million dollars per year to host municipalities"

Ok, lets just check out this statement "ESTIMATED"  and "APPROXIMATELY" are not very strong words now are they? Not only that, but if the casino can generate revenues in such excess to provide the host municipality $4 million dollars how much money has it stolen from the residents of said municipality.  Where do the supporters of casino funds to municipalities think the money comes from? Remember "The House" always wins and the Township and the residence are not "The House". People give your heads a shake.  Before we all get excited about the money don't forget this story about OLG potentially changing the rules on revenue sharing.  They are "The House" and they make and break the rules.  The Township Concil doesn't want to be put into this position in several years:
“It was not good news for us. It was not a good day,” said Michael Wood, chief administrative officer of the Township of Centre Wellington, which includes Elora. “We just don’t know what the announcement is really going to mean.”
Casinos are not sustainable municipal development. If you want to get some real information on gambling visit the University of Waterloo's Gambling Research Team or Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre.

We are suppose to check off "Yes" or "No" to the following question:

"Do you support the establishment of a gaming facility in Woolwhich?"

They forgot the option of "Heck, No you crazy politicians" because that is the box that I'd be checking.  If you want your opinion heard on this please go to   The deadline is Friday, December 21, 2012.

Here is some discussion of a possible casino in The Township of Woolwich.

Here are the search results of other articles in the Record on the possible casino in Woolwich.

I would like to applaud the Cambridge council for dumping this idea as they voted to reject it.  Gambling is not a source of revenue, it is a source of problems now and into the future.  Please be informed and inform the Council in Woolwich that this is a bad idea. Woolwich said "No" to the slot machines in the past and now they have an arena and new homes on that land.  New homes and other services provide stable income for the municipality.  Casinos only provide an income as long as they are making more then they are providing to you.

Ok, this rant is over but I can almost guarantee that I will have more to say on this issue.

Say "YES" to a positive sustainable future and say "NO" to a casino in your backyard.