Last evening, in a unanimous vote (one abstention), the Downtown Kingston! Board of Management passed a motion recommending that City Council turn down the possibility of hosting a casino in the City of Kingston. The motion went on to detail “and further, that Council continue to work to investigate adding convention facilities to Kingston’s job and wealth creating assets, including possible private partnerships and possible funding models as per North Block studies”.
The Board considered several key questions concerning possible and potential economic issues that may be involved. Research included accessing many studies (mainly from Canada and the USA) as well as consultations with many Canadian communities whom currently host casinos. The B.I.A. also participated in a conference call with a cited proponent for a Kingston casino, Mr. Paul Micucci and his associate, Mr. Joe Tracini, in early August. Mr. Micucci was previously Vice President of OLG and Chief Financial Officer of the Ontario Casino Corporation, and is currently CEO of Celebration Casinos. He indicated that he has been consulting locally and that he is considering community needs, which may include a convention centre, among other amenities. The Board has noted that once a community agrees to be “open” to a casino, it is the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG) who sets the parameters, and will view, evaluate and ultimately accept a proposal. Part of the concern of the Board of Downtown Kingston! is that the previous work of City Council & staff – which included a RFI (Request for Information) regarding a convention centre on the North Blocks has now been stalled due to the province of Ontario’s new direction with casinos – and an opportunity will now have been lost with respect to the full potential of North Blocks’ development.
Ultimately, the research the B.I.A has undertaken shows that there are two kinds of casinos – the “destination casino” and the “urban casino”. The “destination casino” is located in a more remote location, in a somewhat impoverished area (First Nations Reserves, Las Vegas, Gananoque). The “destination casino” receives a large portion of its gross revenues from out of town and instantly becomes one of the area’s largest employers (and any negative social impacts “go home” with the visiting gambler). The “urban casino” – is the type Kingston would be. It receives a large portion of its gross revenues from within the population of the municipality. The proponents estimated that the Kingston model would create approximately $120 million dollars in revenue. This disposable income would leave our market area, whether located downtown or elsewhere in the City of Kingston, and is considerable cause for concern.
Thanks to FreeRishad for the pic.