Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hamilton Casino Thoughts

I'm sure there's a lot of academic work on this topic, but when considering a casino for Hamilton, one has to look at disposable income. I think it is safe to say that with a full casino downtown Hamiltonians will gamble more than they presently do, due to convenience. Also one would assume some shift in gambling from other facilities like Niagara or Brantford by Hamiltonians to a Hamilton casino. Also potentially people from outside Hamilton could gamble here, with an increase over Flamborough, although Hamilton isn't really a tourism mecca.

The city gets a share of the gambling profits, however increased amounts of disposable income will be spent gambling, with the majority of those funds going directly to the province, plus the operator and the workers at the facility. That's money that won't be spent on goods and services such as restaurants in city. How does that balance out? I'm not sure, although if I owned a restaurant right beside wherever the facility ends up located things won't be so bad, but would be worse for those farther away.

I'm generally against a casino downtown, mainly because I see it shifting money around and I'm not entirely convinced that the profits recouped from the province will be equal to the loss of other spending downtown. Plus the additional social costs for increased problem gambling is hard to calculate. Will more people lose their jobs from problem gambling and end up on welfare costing the city money and the lost productivity of a citizen? Who knows?

If the present Flamborough casino were to be beefed up with gaming tables I would be fine with that. Otherwise I would need more data to be convinced, with the onus on casino backers to provide it.

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