In Canada, opponents of a plan that would bring a casino to the community of North Bay are reportedly set to meet with local council officials tomorrow in hopes of convincing them to rethink a 2012 decision that saw the small Ontario city designated as a host community.
According to a report from the local North Bay Nugget newspaper, the council will hear presentations from members of the No Casino North Bay group and others concerned about the socio-economic impacts of opening a gambling establishment in the Nipissing District city on Tuesday as opponents continue to step up their efforts at stopping a casino from opening its doors.
“Our position is that is not over until it’s over,” Kay Heuer from No Casino North Bay told the newspaper.
December saw the state-run Ontario Lottery And Gaming Corporation sign a 20-year deal that will see Vancouver-based Gateway Casinos And Entertainment Limited open new casinos in the Ontario cities of North Bay and Kenora and take over the running of existing gambling facilities in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury.
However, Heuer told the newspaper that the arrangement to bring a casino to North Bay remains subject to negotiations, confirmation and acceptance by the local community and that she had yet to see the council put forward any research or arguments that such a facility would be a benefit to residents.
“Our research is that there is not,” Heuer told the newspaper before suggesting that the social costs associated with a casino would far outweigh any economic benefits.
Heuer reportedly also explained that Tuesday’s meeting is expected to include presentations focused on business, church and counseling perspectives and could include a renewed call for the city to institute an economic impact study into the opening of a casino.
The North Bay Nugget reported that the local public health authority has called on city leaders to set aside some of the revenue that is expected from the casino in order to establish responsible gambling programs while it moreover previously recommended conducting a study to determine the prevalence of problem gambling within the community followed by a future investigation to see if this rate had changed.
In addition, the newspaper reported that more than 60 local physicians recently signed a petition calling on council leaders to do their utmost to protect residents from the negative effects of the coming casino, which is eligible to offer up to 300 slots along with some 120 live table gaming seats.
The North Bay Nugget reported that the planned North Bay casino is expected to create 150 to 200 new jobs while the city would benefit from annual property tax payments along with a 5% share of gambling revenues, which could reach as high as $1.5 million a year.
Carrie Kormos, Marketing And Communications Senior Vice-President for Gateway Casinos And Entertainment Limited, told the newspaper in January that her firm plans to work with the local community before settling on the scope of the project including the amenities to be offered. She also reportedly declared that resident input and more detailed market research would help to determine the type of casino the British Columbia firm would bring to the city of 51,000 people.