Casinos dont lead to more problem gambling - Thursday 26th of July 2007

While I agree with much of your editorial as it relates to Torontos budgetary woes, I must correct the misconceptions it contains with regard to casinos, policing and problem gambling. The research-supported facts are that casinos require no more policing than any other equivalent entertainment and tourist attraction, and the introduction of casino-style gaming into a community does not increase levels of problem gambling.

This was demonstrated just last year by Professor Robert Ladouceur of Laval University, who measured rates of problem gambling in the immediate market area of the Lac Lemay casino in Hull both before and 10 years after its opening, and found that problem-gambling rates had not increased.

In 2005, Peter D. Hart Research Associates conducted a poll of 201 community leaders in U.S. jurisdictions outside of Nevada with commercial casino gaming, including racetrack casinos. The sample included elected officials (mayors, council members, etc.) and civic leaders (chiefs of police, chambers of commerce, etc.). They were asked that if they could go back in time with the benefit of hindsight, would they do it all over again. Fully 75 per cent said that they would vote for casinos, citing the positive benefits on their communities: additional tax revenues, jobs, secondary economic development and contributions to community and charitable organizations.

You are absolutely right that it is a decision for government, both municipal and provincial, as to whether or not casinos are built. However, such decisions ought to be made on the facts, not misinformation.

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