A casino will bring increased health and social costs for Toronto, warned two leading experts at a community forum hosted by the Wellesley Institute on Jan 22. While a casino for Toronto is being pitched as a sure-fire money-spinner (exactly the same way that casinos are marketed to individual gamblers), the real story is much more complex.
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr David McKeown noted that availability and proximity are key factors in boosting problem and at-risk gambling behaviour. He said that research suggests that there would likely be a big increase in the estimated 140,000 problem and at-risk gamblers in the GTA if a casino is located here. Trent University gambling expert Dr Jim Cosgrave noted that governments are increasingly relying on gambling revenues and, as the economic downturn continues to erode revenues, governments are increasingly turning to the quick stimulus of gambling to shore up their finances.
The presentations of Drs McKeown and Cosgrave can be found posted below.
Toronto’s public consultation on the casino proposal wraps up on Friday. Background information on the health and social impact of casinos, along with links to additional resources, is listed below.
Presentation by Medical Officer of Health Dr David McKeown
Presentation by Trent University gambling expert Dr Jim Cosgrave
Backgrounder from Wellesley Institute on casinos and your health
Toronto casino consultation website
Toronto Public Health’s technical report on health impact of casinos
Wellesley Institute’s Health Equity Impact Assessment of a Toronto casino
Dr Jim Cosgrave’s book, Casino State: Legalized Gambling in Canada