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article imageToronto city councillor discusses casino costs Special

By KJ Mullins     Nov 20, 2012 in World
Toronto - Toronto is in the process of deciding if the city should be putting a casino in the downtown core, a move that could have office buildings moving away along with jobs.
Monday night City Councillor Adam Vaughan talked about the true cost to the city of Toronto if casinos came to the downtown area.
If you listen to many at City Hall all of Toronto's money woes would be cured with the spin of casino slot machines. If you listen to the talk Toronto will be getting $1.4 billion if the craps tables go in.
Vaughan said with passion that the reality is "not going to happen". While the city could make around $700 million the cost to the city would be much greater and take decades to fix.
In order for Toronto to make the billion dollar mark with a casino there would have to be 10,000 people every hour of the day hoping for Lady Luck to smile down on them.
To make the kind of money that is being tossed around City Hall Vaughan said will "only happen if the Toronto casino is bigger than any other casino in North America."
Is this a crap shot that the residents of Toronto are willing to make? If the casino does go through another industry will die quickly. Office buildings. Toronto currently has six office buildings planned for the downtown core including one by Cadillac Fairview at Simcoe and Front Streets. That building though will be pulled if a casino goes in.
When casinos come to town property values go down says Vaughan. With the current condo market that means people will be losing hand over fist. Commercial properties will move away leaving the downtown core, now a vibrant area, in despair.
Granted it may take a few years for Toronto to lose businesses but what will come quickly is the traffic. Casinos deal in cash and lots of it. People carrying large amounts of cash don't take public transit, they drive or take cabs. This means more cars on roads that already are struggling to handle current traffic issues. One of the proposed areas for a casino is the Ontario Exhibition. This area is also one of the worse areas in Toronto when it comes to traffic. If the numbers that are needed for a casino to 'save' Toronto came then it would mean close to 11,000 cars on the roadway 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The infrastructure at this time can not handle that amount of traffic.
There are other factors to add in, the human side of what a casino brings to town. For a lucky few that slot machine brings good times but for most money flies out of their pockets into the casinos coffers. Debt, despair and depression are what's left when the money runs out.
During the first few years of a casino there isn't a major increase of crime Vaughan admitted. The reason behind this is the increased policing of the area that wanes in time. Within a decade though the crime in casino towns drastically increases. Casino parking lots are hotbeds for crime.
Another issue is suicides. In Ontario when a person dies as a result of suicide the location noted is where they come from, not where they died. In Niagara, Ontario Vaughan said that suicides are off the charts but the numbers can't be added up.
"No one collects the STATS. It's all centered on protecting the casinos," Vaughan said.
Toronto's City Hall may be willing to bet the odds on a casino but are the residents of the city ready to pay that price?
More about office buildings, Casinos, Toronto, Adam vaughan
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