Casinos a money grab for province, critics say
Sudbury Laurentian University economics prof says casinos in every city don't attract tourists
Posted: Mar 18, 2013 11:04 AM ET
Last Updated: Mar 18, 2013 10:11 AM ET
A Sudbury economist is questioning whether a downtown casino would actually be an economic driver for the city.
David Robinson asked his fellow economics professors at Laurentian University if a casino will help spur the city's downtown economy now that the gambling industry is set to expand under the province's plan to modernize the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
"City council seems quite keen about it,” he said “[But] all my colleagues seem quite un-keen about it."
Robinson said a casino would funnel money to the province more than it would bring dollars to the community.
He added the community would only benefit economically if the casino attracted tourists.
"Once you put them in every major city they're no longer a tourist attraction,” Robinson said.
"It’s exactly like the trick of lowering your taxes to attract new businesses. If you do it, you get new businesses. If everybody does it, everybody's poorer."
Taking 'more of that gaming dollar’
A New Democrat member of provincial parliament said he wants the Liberal government to look further into the issue.
Taras Natyshak will introduce a motion Monday that would force municipalities to hold referendums on the casino issue. He says the province has not fully considered the economic or social impact of downtown casinos.
"What we're concerned about is that the OLG is simply putting casinos where you find larger populations to be able to grab more of that gaming dollar,” Natyshak said.
The provincial government has allowed municipalities to opt out of a casino if they choose. However, Sudbury city council says it wants a casino somewhere in the city, but would like it to include extras like a hotel or arena.
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