Can Cornwall Survive a Second Area Casino? MCA In Talks for Long Sault Site? by Jamie Gilcig

jg2CORNWALL Ontario – As I was investigating a lead on the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne being in talks with the Federal Government about acquiring Crown Lands in nearby Long Sault to create a Casino and entertainment complex with Chinese financing I discovered some disturbing facts about the impacts on Casinos on neighboring communities.

We investigated that Chief Brian David and others from the MCA  visited China to discuss funding, and that a possible connection exists between the Cornwall Harbor Divestiture discussions.

The problem with “secret” discussions on issues concerning public tax dollars is that we never know what happens until it’s too late.

For the record that MCA did not deny Chief David’s trip to China or the talks.  They just stood ground  with a polite “no comment” response to our several questions.

The scuttlebutt was that Hamilton Island was originally the plan; but that Crown Land in nearby Long Sault went into play after the Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc. scandal put everything in play including a possible land swap involving the Dundee land claim and NY State even being involved.

Time will bear out what happens, but in the meanwhile several stories have hit media about the impact of casinos on their communities and the lack of economic development spin off.

The nearby Akwesasene Mohawk Casino for example has had a dramatic impact on nearby Cornwall Ontario.    Our economy is suffering as many seniors spend money their limited disposable income at the casino that would otherwise be spent in our community.     The concept of casino experiences are gamed towards seniors.   No windows, no clocks, the depth of lighting and cocooning feeling lead to comfort while each visit takes chunks of money from them.

Across the street from the casino lies the empty former IGA store showing that the casino really has no direct impact.    While it hires employees to work there monies sucked from the community lead to losses of jobs.    Looking at the empty stores in Cornwall and anecdotal stories from area businesses the local dollars are going somewhere and in a city with such a high level of seniors the casino plays a big factor.  Heck even Mr. Cornwall Chuck Charlebois can be seen in front of the machines at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino regularly.

The current casino has very few possible positive spin offs for Cornwall with very few if any dollars coming back to our city.

Having a casino in Long Sault could bring a whole new load of issues for this region.

The Atlantic wrote an interesting piece on the impact of casinos on communities  by Canuck David Frum.   LINK

No one should look to the gambling industry to revive cities, “because that’s not what casinos do.” 

Sound familiar?

Until the late 1970s, no state except Nevada permitted casino gambling. Then Atlantic City persuaded its state legislature to allow casinos, in hope of reviving the prosperity of the battered resort town. Hotels sprung up along the seafront. Thousands of people were hired. And the rest of Atlantic City … saw no benefits at all. All these years later, it still has desperate trouble sustaining even a single grocery store.

Spin off effects?

The impact of casinos on neighboring property values is “unambiguously negative,” according to the economists at the National Association of Realtors. Casinos don’t encourage non-gaming businesses to open nearby, because the people who most often visit casinos do not wander out to visit other shops and businesses. A casino is not like a movie theater or a sports stadium, offering a time-limited amusement. It is designed to be an all-absorbing environment that does not release its customers until they have exhausted their money.

Nor do casinos help nearby property rights.  Add in the cost to communities in some excess crime as well as caring for those who develop gaming addictions and it looks like having a casino in your back yard is like, well rolling craps.

Before the 70’s Las Vegas had a near exclusivity on gaming.  Then Atlantic City entered the game and it seems now that almost every region in the US and now growing in Canada have added casinos.  Mix in online gaming into the situation and that’s a lot of entities vying for the dollars for games that most people really understand is stacked against them.

PBS also had an interesting piece on legal gambling in the US   LINK

the legalization of gambling activities eventually causes: (1) increased taxes, (2) a loss of jobs from the overall region, (3) economic disruption of other businesses, (4) increased crime and (5) large social-welfare costs for society in general and government agencies in particular. For example, two studies of the riverboat casinos in Illinois concluded that for every one job created by the riverboats, most of the surrounding communities probably lost one or more jobs from pre-existing businesses (Grinols 1994; Grinols and Omorov 1995).

Looking at the history and growth of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino clearly shows that they are harvesting a lot of dollars; dollars that are not being shared with communities and businesses close to them.

It might be time to discuss this before adding another casino to this area.    The most disturbing issue with this current possible situation is that the Trillium deal hid behind Crown Lands not having to follow provincial or municipal laws.   The people and municipality had no say in what was built; how, or impacts to our own infrastructure, and enviornment.   Would this casino be constructed in the same framework?

What are your thoughts dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.

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  1. This is all the government thinks we need – Ontario Problem Gambling Hotline: 1-888-230-3505.

    “Greed has twins, each named “Give me!” There are three or four things that are never satisfied: The world of the dead and a childless wife, the thirsty earth and a flaming fire” (Pro 30:15-16). We should add the “problem” gambler!

  2. Pretty sure we’ve hit the saturation point with casinos and gambling in general.

  3. Furtz,,,,agreed. Isn’t there enough casinos in the area? Akwesasene Mohawk Casino, Montreal Casino, Gananoque Casino, RCR Slots, Casino du Lac Leamy???

  4. Where there are cassinos there is crime and high crime and not just small stakes. People do not benefit from cassinos in fact people lose everything whether it be their homes, their families, their cars, etc. and yes a lot of times their lives. We have enough “sin cities” and sin it is. People will crumble and I mean crumble. The people of Cornwall are mostly on welfare or some sort of social assistance and even those who are lucky enough to work will lose everything including their souls to terrible addictions.

  5. You can preach all your sanctimonious blather you want and believe it’s a sin…and decide for others what’s right and what’s wrong….I’ll leave that nonsense to the ‘righteous’ but Furtz hit it right on the head. We’ve reached the saturation point. There will not be another casino. I guarantee it. Just isn’t a market for it. And Market is the true God whether you believe it or not. Market decides everything! Simple micro-economics. Supply and demand.

    (getting off soap box now)

  6. I agree with Furtz and Marc Houde. Jules, people do benefit from casinos. They allow the government to pump more money into health care, education, etc. Do you have any proof casinos result in crime and high crime? And no, I don’t mean the usual “I know because I know” song.

  7. I live in Akwesasne and have to agree with Jamie. This casino does nothing for Awesasne but create traffic from visitors from other communities who spend money outside of the casino only on gas and snacks! Jobs are Minimum wage, and the majority of employees are from surrounding communities and NOT Akwesasne.

  8. Author

    Francis do you think that there would be more money in the community if the Casino weren’t there? I know that there are a lot of closed gas bars and buildings since the casino has grown?

  9. The Gananoque casino has been going for twelve years now. In that time the town of Gananoque, and Leeds and Thousands Islands Township have each collected $20M in casino revenues. That was an agreement between the OLG and the municipalities to share a percentage of the slot machine booty. And of course, now that pretty well all the manufacturing jobs are gone, the casino is the biggest employer in the area, with all the spin-offs that come with that. No increase in crime. In fact the crime rate has been dropping here just like everywhere else.

  10. @ Newton. Gawd, please smite me if we ever agree about anything! That clown in BC is NOT a real Pastafarian. A real Pastafarian would wear a stainless steel colander, not a devil-inspired plastic one. You should know that. Arrrr…

  11. LOL LOL. ROLF! I thought that this was something just drummed up by Furtz and his flying spaghetti monster. This is hilarious. LOL LOL. What Furtz didn’t come up with about mighty strange stuff. LOL LOL. This is funny Pastor.

  12. Author

    Are we Dudeists competing with Pastafarians? I think not…

  13. Hugger I do know that the government benefits from the sale of alcohol and tobacco for health care and other things. As far as cassinos are concerned I have never heard about that one at all. Prostitution usually follows in with cassinos. Gambling is a terrible habit and many lose everything over that habit.

  14. The profits from OLG casinos is pumped into government programs. I don’t know about others, but I’ve never seen a prostitute at an OLG casino. Perception may be reality. But in this case I think it’s wrong.

  15. I was searching through the history and reality of the gaming industry for something positive to say. I found nothing.

  16. I’m no fan of gambling or casinos, and agree that over all they are a drag on society. However, in the case of the Gananoque Casino, the 40 million of slots revenue given to the two local communities, and the employment spinoffs have been a huge benefit. Once the novelty wore off in the first year of operation, few locals continued to flush their paychecks down the toilet. Just about all suckers now come in off the 401.

  17. Author

    Furtz I think the Ontario government purposely put casinos in communities like Gan and where Casino Rama is to limit local impact and draw from populated areas. Now they are moving into bigger cities to compete. Having one in Windsor to compete with US casinos and possibly in Long Sault to compete with the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino stateside.

    It’s a complicated issue; but the bottom line is that these casinos suck a lot of money out of the community without giving back.

  18. In the case of the Gan casino, it’s been a big boost to the local tax coffers and economy in general. As I said, almost all the suckers come in off the 401. Right now, there’s a lot of consternation around here because it might get moved to Kingston.

  19. Broken families, poverty, corruption, prostitution, the suffering of children, drugs, murder, violence, theft to name but a few of the spinoff effects. Increased tax revenue to fuel our social democracy is the benefit to justify the carnage.

    What the hell are we thinking?

  20. @Jules…the government benefits from the sale of alcohol and tobacco? We are the government Jules. The government is not a business. Collection of taxes and administration are the governments function. It is a non profit entity to service the needs of the voters and public at large. Does the tax revenue generated from alcohol and tobacco cover the spinoff medical costs and administrative jungle, not likely Jules, not likely at all.

  21. You paint quite the picture of Gananoque and the township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, David.

  22. Why dont you put the blame where it belongs. We are tired of cornwall’s business treatment against us Natives.starting with Custom ‘treatment on a daily treatment. Now we choose to shop else where. Change your prejudice .we might shop in corwall again.

  23. Author

    Rose that prejudice cuts both ways. Try selling ads in Akwesasne.

  24. What does Cornwall’s business treatment of Natives have to do with a possible (yeap, okay) casino in Long Sault?

  25. David the sale of cigarettes and alcohol sure do pay for the health care in Canada and the government collects the taxes from even the sale of goods from stores and even people like ourselves who own or rent pay taxes and the taxes go to municipalities, then to the provinces and then to the federal government. All monies is distributed where they belong. If you don’t pay taxes it is one of the greatest offences that people can make and the penalties are mighty stiff.

  26. @Jules…Casinos are simply another method of removing additional money from the pockets of the taxpayer. Under the guise of entertainment (OLG,OGCO)6.7 billion in revenue was achieved in 2012. You state that not paying taxes is one of the greatest offense that people can make, I would challenge that and suggest the one of the greatest offenses is the mismanagement of public funds (taxes). The Ontario Liberal Government has squandered, mismanaged and outright misdirected public money (closure and relocation of gas powered electrical generation plants in greater Toronto region)Orange, E-Health, Green Energy Program to name a few to the tune of billions of dollars. We are so uniformed and apathetic we reward this behavior by giving them a majority government to sink us even deeper into debt that we will not escape for many generations to come, if in fact ever. I am not suggesting that debt is not a necessary part of the economy, it quite simply is. The burden of financing the debt is the elephant in the room that no politician seems willing to recognize.

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