The City's Official Plan establishes a long-term vision for how the City of Toronto will grow so that it continues to be a vibrant and attractive place. When making a decision about possible areas for locating a casino in Toronto, as with all developments, the City considers the principles for successful city building which include:
A City of Diversity and Opportunity:
Toronto must continue to diversify if it is to remain competitive with other cities. Being diverse means having a variety of land uses and activities to provide the people of Toronto with opportunities to live, work, learn and play.
A City of Connections: Providing a quality of life that will attract and retain people.
The City needs:
- Connected green space which links our parks and open spaces
- Fast, convenient and high-quality transportation system linking housing and employment and access to goods and services, health care, education and recreation
- Efficiently delivered City services in an infrastructure system that supports growth.
A City of Beauty: Providing for natural and human-made beauty.
People choose to live and businesses choose to invest in beautiful, vibrant cities. Toronto has a rich urban fabric that has been developed over generations and is framed by our natural features, lively public streets, and open spaces which provide the setting for community life. The Official Plan provides direction on how to retain and enhance this beauty and vibrancy.
A City of Leaders and Stewards:
Achieving the Official Plan's vision for the city requires active participation by individuals, communities and businesses in decision making to ensure innovative solutions are achieved and embraced.
A new building or business can bring with it new jobs, increase the number of people who purchase goods or visit local restaurants and businesses, increase revenue to the City in the form of taxes and fees, and can revitalize areas that may be in need of renewal. The economic impact of a casino or an Integrated Entertainment Complex depends in large part on how successful it is at attracting new money from outside the area to Toronto.
|Port Lands, Exhibition Place, or downtown||During construction
(3 year period)
|Integrated Entertainment Complex||
|Woodbine Racetrack||During construction
(3 year period)
|Integrated Entertainment Complex||
The ability of an Integrated Entertainment Complex to generate increased tourism from visitors outside the region and attract new spending is related to the size of the facility and its location. A facility located in close proximity to existing tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants and convention space would attract more tourist visitors. A smaller facility or a facility located far away from hotels and restaurants would not attract the same levels of tourism.
Ernst & Young studied the potential impacts of a new casino in Toronto on the City's revenues and local economy, as well as the socioeconomic impact of casinos in other jurisdictions. The table above summarizes the potential employment estimates. You can also read the full report.
In Ontario, the OLG currently conducts and manages 24 gaming venues: 14 slots-at-racetracks locations, 6 OLG Casinos, and 4 OLG Resort Casinos that include slots and table games as well as entertainment, hotel and/or dining amenities. The OLG Casinos and Resort Casinos generated slightly more than $1.59 billion in revenues this past year. The OLG pays a hosting fee to all municipalities with gaming venues, based on a formula that takes into account overall slots revenue. Under the current OLG standard agreement, the City receives approximately $16 million annually from OLG for the current slots facility at Woodbine.
With any new development, the City could generate additional property taxes. If a new casino is established in Toronto, annual tax revenue is estimated to range from $10 million to $27 million depending on the development and the location. A new casino could also realize land sale or lease revenue if it is situated on City-owned lands.
The scope and scale of an integrated, destination gaming and entertainment development will provide broad based economic benefits across Ontario, in part related to the amount of private capital investment. At the same time, as with any major new development, it will place additional pressure on municipal infrastructure.
According to OLG, for developments attracting private capital investment in excess of $1.2B, the municipal hosting fee formula will likely be impacted by a variety of factors including the size of the gaming and entertainment investment.
A number of critical variables including the site, scale of the development, commercial terms with the operator and the rules governing operations will affect the development opportunity, and the expected gaming revenues which would in turn impact the value of the hosting fee.
The City and OLG are concentrating their discussions on an appropriate funding model for a new integrated entertainment complex facility at the downtown, Port Lands and Exhibition Place locations. According to the OLG the annual hosting fee for an integrated, destination gaming and entertainment facility located in the downtown/waterfront area of Toronto would be in the $50-100M range.
|Ernst & Young Estimates for C1||Ernst & Young Estimates for C2||OLG Estimates for C1|
|Hosting Fees||$66 million - $168 million||$16 million - $120 million||$50 million - $100 million|
|Property Taxes||$10 - 27 million||No Change - $12 million||Not applicable|
|City Land Sale (one time) or Lease (annual)||$0 - $250 million||$0||Not applicable|
In the fall of 2012 OLG proposed a standard funding model for the current site at Woodbine Racetrack, which they indicate has been adopted by all 19 other Ontario municipalities who host gaming sites. The standard model replicates the fee revenue currently received by the City (approx $15 million per year) for the Woodbine facility, and will be considered by Council concurrent with the C1 and C2 new facility options.
If the hosting fee is compared to the amount of revenue that would be raised by one percent of residential property tax, it is estimated it would range from the equivalent of 2% to 7% either at the Port Lands, Exhibition Place, or a downtown location, or 1% - 5% at the Woodbine location, depending on the type of development.
Social and Health Impacts
Toronto's Executive Committee directed the City Manager to report back on the establishment of a 'social contract' between the City and the OLG. This 'social contract' would establish a set of binding commitments that the OLG and a casino operator would be required to implement if a new casino were approved. These commitments would help ensure that a casino contributes positively to the social and economic quality of life of Toronto residents while mitigating the negative impacts of problem gambling in the community.
Toronto Public Health, in partnership with Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario, has considered the possible public health impacts of a casino in Toronto. The report, The Health Impacts of Gambling Expansion in Toronto, and the Toronto Public Health Position Statement on Gambling and Health summarize these impacts and make recommendations to reduce the harm associated with problem gambling in Toronto.
The City of Toronto's Medical Officer of Health has stated that hosting a new casino in Toronto could increase problem gambling, a significant public health concern. Problem gambling occurs when a person's gambling harms themselves, their family or friends or others in the community. It is linked with many negative physical health impacts such as poor overall health, headaches, serious fatigue, sleep problems, and negative mental health impacts such as stress, depression, anxiety, mood and personality disorders and suicide.
|Individual||Family and Friends||Community|
Roughly 11,000 people aged 18+ (about 0.2%) in the Greater Toronto Area and 25,000 people (0.3%) in Ontario are problem gamblers. Another 129,000 people aged 18+ (2.8%) in the Greater Toronto Area and 294,000 people (3.0%) in Ontario are considered at-risk for problem gambling. Males, youth, older adults and those with low income, mental health issues or addictions are at greater risk of developing gambling problems.
A casino will likely have a greater effect on problem gambling for people who live or work closer to the casino compared to those further away and also greater impacts on communities where there are more vulnerable groups.
Examples of mitigation programs that have been implemented at gaming facilities include facial recognition at casinos to support self-exclusion, responsible gaming training for staff, on-site resource centres to provide information about responsible gambling and problem gaming treatment programs. In addition provincial funding supports treatment programs, research and public education.