Councillor Parker says no dice to a Toronto casino

- February 20th, 2012

Councillor John Parker

Councillor John Parker won’t double down on a Toronto casino.

The conservative councillor and sometimes ally of Mayor Rob Ford sent out an op-ed to his constituents today about a Hogtown casino and why he won’t support it. According to the note Parker attached to the e-news blast, the op-ed was requested by a local paper but didn’t run.

I’m not sure who turned it down but here is the always eloquent deputy speaker in his entirety:

A casino for Toronto? No thanks.

by John Parker, City Councillor, Ward 26 – Don Valley West

Why begrudge Toronto residents a local venue at which to pursue the thrill and joy of pouring their money into flashy machines with bright lights and tumbling images of fruit?

The answer lies in the motivation of those who propose a Toronto casino. It is not to provide residents with a recreational outlet; it is to take their money away from them.

Which itself wouldn’t be a bad thing at all if every casino patron were guaranteed to be a disciplined player with money to burn – if each one was a character out of a James Bond movie with wealth to spare. But we know that gambling has an evil dark side. We also know that its victims are those least equipped to stand up to it or cope with its consequences.

The problems with gambling are so notorious that they have acquired clinical names: Tolerance (the need to risk more and more to obtain the same “high”), Withdrawal (as with an addiction), Chasing (risking even more in order to recover previous losses), Bailout (turning to friends and family to cover losses), etc.

I claim no expertise, but I have seen enough of the inside of a casino to know who lives there: For every patron enjoying a harmless evening out there are others who are not there to have fun. They are there to change their lives by hitting the lucky jackpot.

We also know that for every lucky winner there are thousands of losers. Many lose far more than they can afford to part with.

We also know that it is more than the players themselves who are victimized. It is their families as well. Ultimately it is their communities and the city in which they live.

It troubles me in particular that, whenever a casino is proposed for Toronto, it is promoted on the basis that it will give our economy a boost. Think of the tourist dollars! Think of the hotel and restaurant trade! Think of the business for our shops!

In a city as large and enterprising as Toronto, God help us all if our economy has slid so low that we have to turn to a casino to help pull us out of our slump. Let’s hope we have not run out of better and more productive ways to pay our bills.

Let casinos flourish in vacationlands at least a day trip away. Keep them out of the town I am trying to help look after.

Categories: Politics

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4 comments

  1. Brian Keenan says:

    Like so many others, councillor Parker has his facts wrong when it comes to casinos being the major cause of gambling addiction. For the record 85% of adult Canadians gamble! Most people forget that buying lottery tickets, playing bingo and betting on sports games, even among friends or on an on-line service is gambling. The #1 gambling addiction has nothing to do with going to a casino or sinners palace, as many like to categorize them. In fact, the #1 gambling addiction in Canada and the USA is the purchase of lottery tickets which cannot even be purchased at most casinos. The #2 addiction is BINGO. 

    I sure hope that Toronto will get a casino because that would open the door for the proposed Dealtown Casino & Retirement  Resort in Chatham-Kent!

  2. JANE DOE says:

    He has no problem taking charging more taxes to families and businesses to support his incompetent Toronto city councillors…..He has no problem supporting 3rd world LRT that will bankrupt businesses affected by the incompetent TTC and their lack lustre leader….Gary Webster…YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

  3. stfd says:

    What, a casino in Toronto? I thought there were NO more casinos to be built except for those already under negotiation? Guess T.O. can do what they want when they want.

  4. Masood Alam says:

    Thank you Councillor Parker for your careful decision!
    We all know Toronto needs a lot of money. Jerry Sprackman, owner of The Docks http://www.thedocks.com thinks building not only one, but three casinos in the GTA is the solution. Jerry claims that the city could pull in an extra $300 million each year. Jerry obviously has a vested interest in building a casino to earn money like lotteries. From where this this money will come from? From Torontonians hard earn money! Most of them are already facing a lot of financial challenges. In an attempt to overcome their financial issues or to meet their sw~~t dreams, they will rush to the Casino and will end up in more serious financial issues.
    How about our youth? Who will ensure instead of spending their precious time in studies, they may not be heading every night to the Casino and will end up in failures and dropouts from the schools, colleges and universities.
    City Hall will have to take a concise decision before thinking of some revenue or to take potential risks.
    There are too many possible consequences involved in such a decision. Why don’t we have a vote or an open debate at the City Hall inviting all stake holders?

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