Kahnawake, the native community next to Montreal, has become a gambling hub over the past few years, licensing online gambling, offering live bingo parlors and more recently offering up some world class poker clubs. Naturally, a land-based casino would seem as a natural fit for the Mohawk community, as in many other tribal communities across the United States and Canada. But dreams of a casino will not transform to reality any time soon. Over the weekend, a proposed $50 million casino project was voted down during a referendum by the community’s residents.
This is the third time that the community votes on the casino in 18 years and the outcome was decided by a very narrow margin, with 846 residents voting no, 822 residents voting yes and 29 who spoiled their ballots. Basically 50.7% to 49.3% and all this despite the promise of a $1,000 annual dividend from the casino for each resident of the community.
Those people who were for the project argued that the casino would be an important economic resource for the community to make it less dependent on grants from the federal and provincial governments but in the end the project was rejected mainly on moral grounds, with many of the community’s younger residents also speaking out against the project.