OP ED – Casino in Cornwall?- A Bad Idea by Kevin Parkinson – April 19, 2012

We see that a few people in Cornwall are floating a trial balloon- one that says we should lobby for a casino in Cornwall. I think it’s a bad idea and a non-starter and here’s why.

Do the research on gambling and casinos and you will find discover that it’s all downhill. Casinos have some obvious economic benefits that everyone points to, but I believe the costs far outweigh the benefits.

Take the Akwesasne Casino as an example. Other than a few low level jobs there, what has the casino industry really done for Akwesasne? First of all, most of the money earned doesn’t stay in Akwesasne; it is shipped out and used elsewhere. In casino operations this is standard practice. Sure there will be a few public relations giveaways to the community, but it would be hard to argue that Akwesasne is being revitalized because of the casino. I don’t think so.

More importantly, the social costs of having a casino in one’s community are severe. I am surprised local politicians and business leaders seem blind to this fact. Casinos always bleed money from the people who can least afford to gamble, the underclass and the working poor, who already have a huge challenge in putting bread on the table.

I don’t think we need a casino so retirees can spend a few hours for something to do and blow $100. Let them go elsewhere. I’m talking about people who cannot afford to gamble and will put their families at risk if they do. The odds are in the dealer’s favour. We all know that.

Also, the casino business invariably attracts the seamier side of life. Higher crime rates due to prostitution, hard drug trafficking and alcohol abuse are all part of this picture.

Moreover, the province of Ontario already has a funded program to assist gamblers who become addicted. This is an important reality to consider. Gambling for some people can be just as addictive as cigarette smoking and cocaine use, so why would we go there?

Gambling feeds the illusion that we can all become jackpot winners, and that a casino will help everyone to win big and fulfill their dreams. How can we really fall for that?

Remember that for every big jackpot winner, there are children sitting around their kitchen tables with empty plates. That’s pretty close to the reality and always has been.

I don’t buy the argument that adults can do what they want and therefore should be allowed to go to a casino. While that may be true in part, it doesn’t mean that Cornwall City Hall needs to sign on for a casino, and bring further social problems to this community.

City Hall is charged first and foremost with making decisions that benefit the whole community, but being at the bottom of the line in average family income in Ontario, I think Cornwall needs all of the social assistance it can get- which does not include bringing in a casino.

So I would suggest that City Council discuss this issue soon, and not in a secret meeting, but in one which is open to the taxpayers of this city.

We need real leadership here.

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  1. Could not agree more. We have enough problems as it is.. Ever notice that the 1st of every month the taxis are in full swing, beer being bought more frequently and cigarettes and lotto tickets and a lot of it seems to be by the people who really cannot afford these extravagances.

  2. I would hope there is much open discussion as well.

    Items like revenue ( Gananocque gets about 1.6 million per year from OLG) Policing versus related health services even. Of course they are not the same size as Cornwall so numbers will be different.

    Perhaps the horse racing section of the Ottawa Slots could be lured away. It could provide some employment, restuarant and gambling choices and provide a country feel, but would need more acreage perhaps and away from the water.

  3. Watch the video that casino lawyers had banned from YouTube. See what McGuinty and Harper are doing about it. On Facebook: Casino Surveillance Scam. Or google: Windsor Casino Surveillance Scam.

  4. Kevin is right when he speaks of casinos attracting the criminal element. Being from Montreal, I know that in the casino on Ile Notre Dame loansharks operate in the washrooms for gamblers who need just a little more cash. The loansharks often use
    motorcycle gang members as collection agents. Some women
    gamblers who get indebted to the loansharks end up having to work as prostitutes to pay their debt. Locally, we hear on the street and see in the media that there is already organized criminal activity and we don’t need more. (as an aside,
    it is said that some people involved in the seamier side of life like to say “what’s the matter with organized crime? the police are organized!”)

  5. If I remember correctly (it’s been a long time since I’ve read the book), George Orwell had a good take on lotteries in 1984.

    If casinos, lotteries and gambling are so wonderful, why are they forbidden to under-18s?

    Cornwall City Council needs to get a life and do something positive for the city, rather than expecting something for nothing. Follow the money – who are the people who will actually benefit from a casino on the waterfront? I think most of us already know.

    Good article Kevin.

  6. We should put these moral lectures aside till the numbers and research/literature has been objectively reviewed.

    One litmus test for the proposed Cornwall casino would be to see whether the people of Akwesasne oppose a competitive enterprise. What evidence does the op ed writer have for claiming the Akwsasne Casino has done nothing for its community (?) He could be right…just saying. What’s the evidence?

    Already Casino Rama and a City Councillor in Orillia are fighting to halt the proposed GTA casino. That says something pretty powerful. Some believe the market is saturated.

  7. If private money wants to put one here fine. It can be put anywhere but downtown waterfront. 420.

  8. Doesn’t Guy Lauzon have some interest in land on Hwy.138?

  9. I am absolutely against Casinos, not just here but in all of Canada. Furthermore I see no need for any form of legalized gambling outlets, casino or otherwise. Gambling is a huge and rapidly social disease with the lowest success rate of rehabilitation in all the major addictions including hard drugs and alcohol. I have witnessed first hand the loss of a family member’s home due to the bread winner’s obsessive gambling, not once, but twice, and the devastating effect it has on his family.

    The first house was lost when believe it or not those unobtrusive Nevada stands would wrench the Domtar paycheck away. The second house was lost by a combination of the Nevada and the Akwesasne Casino. Needless to say that family is no longer together and he still gambles and has a hard time being trusted by anyone, especially when it involves money. Sadly this is happening to so many families and placing a casino in any town, let alone Cornwall can be the cause of temptations which can not be controlled.

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