Canada’s biggest private casino Gateway Casinos & Entertainment took yet another hit after the vigorous anti-casino group Casino Free Sudbury is stepping up its campaign to convince city officials and people to say “no” to the proposed casino expansion project in Sudbury. Since Gateway announced its intention to establish a multi-million gambling complex on the Kingsway, the group has been at the forefront to stop casino expansion in Sudbury. The lobby group is on the cusp to gain wide support after 200 businesses opposed to casino expansion.
Gateway’s quest to establish a C$60 million gambling complex on the Kingsway, Sudbury, received a juiced shot almost in the heart. The anti-casino activist group Casino Free Sudbury now has support from the biggest business owners in the city. The lobbyist Tom Fortin, a Sudbury tech entrepreneur who runs the manufacturing firm OnTrak, explained that the casino expansion is to have a negative effect on the local economy and cons of casino gambling outweigh the pros. In fact, Mr. Fortin established the anti-casino group in an effort to convince city councilors to step aside from Gateway’s casino expansion proposal.
Outlining Fortin’s Stance on the Matter
Some time ago, Mr. Fortin outright opposed the casino expansion, explaining that it is to siphon off money from the local economy instead of pumping funds in it. He elaborated that the location of the city is not favorable for such expansion. He added that the presence of a full-fledged entertainment complex will not attract any out-of-the-city visitors, which means that the casino’s customers will be mostly locals. According to Mr. Fortin, problem gambling is to spread over more and more people, who will gamble away “big money”. This means that Sudburians will have less money to spend on any other things and the small- and medium-sized local businesses are to suffer the most of this.
Mr. Fortin backed up his words with figures. A research conducted by casinofreesudbury.com found out that 90% of the players in the casino in Sudbury will be most probably be locals and only 10% will be non-Sudburians. Mr. Fortin is hoping to sign up more business owners, who are against the casino expansion in Sudbury. In that way, the city officials will need to hear the group’s demands. Under the Casino Corporation Act, the casino expansion project should win the community consent prior to moving forward. The founder of the anti-casino group explained that proposed Kingsway Entertainment District is not the right thing for a city like Sudbury.
Mr. Fortin took the opportunity to point out that Sudbury-based casino operators pay a 5% tax on their gross profits to the city. But the money will be used for the construction of a $100-million city arena, which indicates that the casino expansion offers only a short-term revenue boost. Long-term speaking, the projected growth in state revenues from gambling activities will most probably reverse and plummet.