Despite it being a Wednesday, council met last night in a slightly less formal setting… More specifically, a public meeting was hosted to discuss the possibility of a casino in Kingston. I should note before I get into anything, that nothing was decided at the meeting, nor was it ever intended to. The meeting was only to solicit feedback from the public so that council could make a more informed decision in the coming weeks. Residents were welcome to register and take a playing card, which then was called from a matching deck. How fitting. We were, of course, there to take in the meeting.
Opinion on the casino was, overall, very much sided towards not bringing one to town, with most opponents mentioning that the jobs created will be low wage, low skillset jobs, that the increase in costs to monitor and deal with crime and addiction don’t out-weigh the benefits, that the amount of perceived money from the casino is not as great as expected and that the casino would take business away from local businesses and even the downtown.
Some of those in favour commented that the jobs and any skill level are needed, that the money coming in would help to offset ever-increasing property taxes and that the charity benefits of a casino would be far-reaching and helpful to thise in need in our community.
We asked not long ago if Kingston should roll the dice – and you answered. My estimates on last night were that the 200-or-so people in attendance came out to roughly the same percentage you did on our poll. A live poll went up during the meeting on the web stream, and numbers came out about the same, too.
Overall, it was a good turnout for comment. The report on the public meeting and the official survey will head to council in September for vote. Remember, even if council goes ahead… a casino isn’t guaranteed – it simply tells the OLG that the city would be okay with one here. We’re still a long way from a final decision.
Council next meets for regular session on August 14th, and we’ll be back to cover it. Our tweets from last night are below.
- 6:38 PM: Meeting has started. @MayorOfKingston started with remarks, now Com. of Sustain. and growth is up. #ygkc ^TV
- 6:54 PM: Some comments so far have been about jobs and location. One suggested a reuse of Kingston Pen
- 6:55 PM: Think I’ve got some of my tech issues resolved. Can start in on the tweets at last. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 6:59 PM: Rep from the downtown BIA running out of time and asked for more. Mayor said no, then cut him off when time was up. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:01 PM: Very large round of applause for the BIA rep. Mayor comments that that type of reaction is not allowed. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:02 PM: Mayor got a large booing for the comment to not applaud. Procedural rules stand, though, #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:05 PM: A family counsellor is speaking on behalf of a recovering gambling addict scared of relapse. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:11 PM: Current speaker says Kingston is a city who exports the young, imports elderly. Casino would help fix that. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:13 PM: My guess pegs turnout, btw, at 150-200 or so. Maybe a little more. cc @maddyr16 #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:15 PM: #YGK staple Helen is up now to talk about how a casino will impact the overall image of Kingston #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:17 PM: Speaker says that any councillor who supports it should be ready to have the #ygkcasino in their district. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:39 PM: Current speaker is discussing quality of the jobs and how they are generally low-wage service jobs. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:42 PM: New speaker talking about social costs and suggests that #ygkc asks other cities for before/after casino budgets. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:45 PM: Speaker asking three questions about sustainability. Comparability, biggest losers/winners and social cost. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:48 PM: Also comments that Kingston has generally been a place for people to come to relax. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:51 PM: Current speaker: “Bet you’re glad they’re only 2 cards in a deck”. @MayorOfKingston: “We actually have multiple colours”. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:52 PM: @redhousektown we think your account has been compromised. Getting sketchy dm’s from you guys.
- 7:54 PM: Current speaker is talking about the difference between types of casinos: Charity vs major for-profit vegas-style. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:57 PM: Speaker is saying that the OLG’s plan for 29 casinos will never happen. Won’t be enough support. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 7:58 PM: Another rep from the downtown BIA has had their card drawn. Has statistics from multiple studies. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:02 PM: Studies show that money stays in the casino and does not go to local, nearby businesses. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:04 PM: Current speaker has been in Kingston since 1956, and says this is the first issue he’s seen a major split on. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:06 PM: There’s a straw poll running at the live stream, http://t.co/8diLs9B8 – are YOU in support of #ygkcasino? ^TV
- 8:10 PM: New speaker is talking about how #ygk has an appeal to the elderly, and are also more prone to gambling addition. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:14 PM: Current speaker is concerned that not enough time is being given by the OLG to do proper studies on the potential. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:18 PM: Current speaker from Kingston Mills – asking about location. Downtown? #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:19 PM: Speakers works in Transportation biz. Says convention business would bring more money than tourism. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:20 PM: Speaker also says that Gan doesn’t have facilities to help addiction. We could. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:22 PM: New speaker says they have been keeping tally: 30 of 32 people who spoke do not want casino. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:23 PM: New speaker comparing casino to LVEC. Says many were opposed to that, too – and it was built. And we pay for it. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:28 PM: New speaker talking about the potential impact on Queen’s and SLC. Fears there’s be an enrolment impact. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:30 PM: New speaker says that study shows 60%+ of slot revenues come from problem gamblers. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:32 PM: I’m going to shut down the straw poll in about 10 minutes – do YOU suport a casino in #ygk? http://t.co/8diLs9B8 #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:35 PM: New speaker: Gambling is a tax on the poor. Also says that the jobs a casino bring would not be jobs ppl would be proud of. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:37 PM: Poll results at the stream: 5 in favour (27.78%), 13 against (72.22%). Thanks for the participation! #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:39 PM: Speaker: “Gambling is inherently fraudulent”. And talks about problems with scratch and computer lotteries. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:40 PM: Speaker also says we were not offered the casino Gan was: Only areas with tory MPPs got that offer. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:42 PM: New speaker saying that going ahead without a cost benefit study would be folly. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:46 PM: New speaker in support of casino: Says would bring new taxes. Says taxes have gone up 17+% in last 4 years. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:48 PM: Speaker is also listing a number of benefactors from OLG money in the past few years. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 8:51 PM: Speaker also suggesting the location be north of 401 to satisfy the downtown BIA’s concerns. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:04 PM: Current speak summers in Atlantic City – says that the casino area is scummy and doesn’t give back. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:05 PM: Speaker: Kingston’s quality of life is like no other, Why would we sell ourself short? #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:06 PM: New speaker: Was in Windsor recently, and is dubious about money potentially coming into the city. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:08 PM: Speaker is also talking about casinos not talking about suicide rates and that casinos offer to buy back mortgages. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:09 PM: New speaker also talking about suicide rates. Comparing his own research on cities with casinos to those that don’t. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:10 PM: … Says that the rate in casino cities is roughly 50% higher. Estimates 6 suicides/yr with a casino in Kingston. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:11 PM: New speaker from reddendale: “Where we don’t have sidewalks and we don’t have storm sewers”. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:13 PM: Speaker also commends the presentations, then sidelines to healthcare and gets cut off by @MayorofKingston. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:14 PM: Speaker: Maybe we should have the casino in Kingston, then take the money from the operator. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:15 PM: Suggests that council goes and plays free gambling sites and double-down on every free bet. #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:16 PM: Looks like that’s a wrap! Thanks for tuning in! #ygkcasino ^TV
- 9:16 PM: Last speaker ended, then turned around to start again, and @MayorofKingston cuts him off. #ygkcasino ^TV
Thanks to reneilet for today’s original photo.