While other cities are embracing casinos as new sources of jobs and tax revenues, cities like Hamilton, Ontario, Canada’s ninth largest city by population, is seeing considerable opposition by local businesses and citizens.
A group of downtown Hamilton business owners have drafted a letter to the Gaming Facility Proposal Subcommittee where they warn of the negative impact a casino can bring to the city’s downtown core.
In their letter, they contradict a claim made by Hamilton’s mayor in a meeting where he stated that he thinks every restaurant owner in the downtown Hamilton would want a casino.
They also draw comparisons to the nearby Brantford Casino project in the letter, stating that there has been no economic benefit for businesses around the casino, a project that passed a referendum vote by a very narrow margin. The mayor of Brantford claims that the casino has in fact helped bring funds to the community including the library and university.
A report by city staff is being prepared to be submitted to the gaming subcommittee in January that addresses the potential of a casino development along with projected earnings. That will be followed up by two public forums on the issue in January.
The city of Hamilton officials need to inform the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) by March of 2013 as to whether the city wants to proceed with a casino project.
Other cities embracing a casino for example are South Surrey, BC. While meeting some opposition recently, in a meeting of the Surrey Council on December 12, the council members voted 8-1 to move forward with a gaming application for a proposed casino and entertainment complex.
On January 14 in the New Year, the public will be allowed to share their views on the project with the council directly in the form of a public hearing, but it is unlikely that the project will not more forward, as many argue that many local citizens funnel money to other nearby casinos anyhow.