Are Casinos good for business?
Executives at BCLC, the Provincial Government, Gateway, the Surrey Board of Trade, and the Surrey-White Rock Chamber of Commerce say that they are. For them, it’s all about the money. The victims of casino gambling are not important.
These organizations have lots of reasons for saying that Casinos are good for business. The Provincial Government skims 65% off the top and returns a mere 8% to the City. Gateway owners at Catalyst live in Toronto and take 34% for amortization of their investment, operating costs and profit. That’s money out of your pocket that goes to directly to Gateway and the Province and out of the local economy.
Where will the money come from? It comes from your friends and neighbors in the community. It comes from gamblers who already go to casinos like the River Rock. Some may choose to gamble in Surrey instead, but this only moves revenue. It creates nothing. Casino advocates claim that $20M will come from people who gamble in the USA that will give up their shopping and entertainment trips in the USA in favor of gambling in Surrey. This is not likely to happen. Washington State offers shoppers much more than just gambling, they offer better value for money in food, clothes, and gas.
Of the 500 casino jobs, about half the staff will come from outside Surrey. Most construction jobs will be staffed from outside Surrey. Some jobs will be created in support industries including increased emergency health care, social work, policing and support groups helping victims. Surrey will share in this burden and pay through increased taxes. This does not include jobs created through laundering drug money and loan sharking cited in RCMP reports.
Yes, we need to support the economy.
Are Casinos good for the economy?
Casinos hurt the local economy by drawing money out of the community to stuff the pockets of the BC and Federal Government and Casino owners.
For economies to work, money needs to circulate. When money stops circulating, spending stops, businesses fail, people lose jobs, and economies collapse. The BC government has been running lotteries and Casinos now for over 30 years. We have not seen the economic growth which was promised. Instead, today’s generation of young people is the first generation in Canada’s history to be worse off than their parents.
That is why Casinos are bad for the local economy but there is more…
Casinos are also bad for business because they increase crime. Crime increased by 400% near the River Rock Casino once it was built according to the RCMP. Crime impacts tourism and Casinos are magnets for crime.
Gambling addiction pulls money away from local businesses. About 4.6% of gamblers will become problem gamblers and risk bankruptcy and homelessness. Bankrupted gamblers have little money left over to spend at local businesses.
There is a Myth that Casinos create jobs. That is not true either.
The following is a quote from a Social-Economic Impact Study which was produced for the BC Government in 2007:
“(Garrett 2003; Grinols 1994; 1996; 2004) have pointed out that gambling often does not create new jobs. Existing jobs in retail, entertainment and the food service sectors are often displaced or “cannibalized” by the gambling industry as spending patterns shift to casino gambling. Furthermore, these new casino jobs are typically low skilled and low paid compared to some of the jobs they are displacing (McMillen 2000; Marshall 2001).”
So Casinos create neither wealth nor jobs. They only move wealth from the poor to the rich. They cannibalize higher paying jobs in the community and replace them with lower paying jobs within the casino. Nevada currently has the highest unemployment rate in the USA. Casinos create nothing and an economy based on them is doomed to collapse. It is an economy built on a house of cards.
For a taste of what is to come, take a look at what Gateway currently offers Gamblers in Surrey. The developers promised to help revitalize the Newton area. Take a look a close look at what was delivered. A dank combined Slots and Bingo hall. And take a close look at the businesses pulled in by the Casino… A Discount store for selling used clothing. Sometimes one needs to look beyond the hype and the promises of prosperity, and take a close look at the delivered reality.
That is why a Casino is NOT “the best thing since sliced bread” for local businesses in South Surrey and White Rock. This is why Mayor Dianne Watts and Surrey City Hall need to just say NO to this proposed South Surrey Casino.