Archive for September, 2012

NO Casino- A Letter

by Mary Farrar

Hi all,

The City is considering the possibility of having a casino in the downtown.This will really change life in the downtown core, and therefore the Inner Harbour, because the most likely location will be beside the KROCK Centre.  It would appear that City Council  is leaning in favour of  a casino.

The Downtown Business Improvement Association has done the research. They understand the benefits and the costs and they are strongly opposed because they see that a casino in the downtown would threaten their businesses as well as the vibrancy and life of the downtown.


We should stand with the downtown BIA and oppose a casino in Kingston’s historic downtown for the following major reasons:

1)  A casino would cheapen Kingston’s brand as a historic, authentic, waterfront city.  It’s tacky.

2)  The revenue brought in would constitute only approx 1% of the City’s annual budget. Is it really worth it?

3) Because most of the clients would be local (as opposed to a “destination casino” like Gananoque), the City of Kingston would be faced with an increase in social (and moral) costs associated with problem gambling, family break up and suicide.

4) Casinos these days are trying to attract young people as clients.  Are we really comfortable putting our young students at risk?  Will parents want to send their children to Queen’s, St. Lawrence and RMC when newspaper stories start to come out about problem gambling in these student communities?

5) Kingstonians only have a certain amount they can spend on entertainment.  What is spent in the casino is not spent in downtown businesses.  Research shows a drop in businesses within a 10 mile range of urban casinos.

In Atlantic City, within 4 years of the casinos opening, 40% of the city’s restaurants closed as did 1/3 of the retail businesses.

6) Research shows that casinos deliberately try to keep people inside their establishment, thereby undermining local businesses.

7) What the downtown needs is development of the downtown blocks known as the North Block to consist of a convention centre and blocks with commercial ground floors topped by 4-5  stories of apartments and condos. Increased population density in the downtown core combined with increased pedestrianization of the downtown core is good for business.  Will these excellent North Block redevelopment plans have to be reconsidered?

8) Job increases suggested by casino supporters are probably illusory as other jobs will be lost due to businesses failing in the downtown – the so-called “displacement effect”.

9) The Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) people decide where the casino will be located based on where they think the province will make the most money.  We are not sure how much the City’s preferences will be taken into account re location

10) The casino will be privately run with the vast majority of the profits going out of the City.

This matters.  The mayor and City Council will pay attention to each letter received.

It only takes a few minutes to send an e-mail.  Thanks so much for considering this request.


Mary Farrar,


Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour

p.s. If you would like to see the research sources, send me an e-mail at

p.p.s. Further elaboration of the two types of casino: “Destination Casino” and  “Urban Casino”.

Destination Casinos (e.g. Las Vegas and Gananoque)

a) attract tourist gamblers from afar

b) create jobs, and

c) the social problems associated with gambling leave the city along with the gamblers.

This explains why Gananoque wants to keep their casino.

Urban Casinos (e.g. Atlantic City and Kingston)  are a different story.

a) Most of the gamblers are local.

b) 30%-40% of local businesses are forced to close because people spend their money at the casino

c) There is an increase in local gambling and in problem gamblers, costs that must be born by the City.


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