While there are perceived community benefits to opening a casino in any given town, they aren’t strong enough to justify the negative repercussions that may ensue if one was to open in Kingston.
In response to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s recently announced modernization plan, which would allow for a private sector investor to open a new casino in Kingston, locals have adamantly expressed concerns.
Their voices should be heard. Supporters of the casino believe that its presence will bring in tourist dollars and enhance the City’s economy.
There has, however, been a heated debate in town hall meetings, in Council, and in the larger community on the issue.
The City of Kingston has done a great job reaching out to gather opinion on the issue.
Through the forums provided to them, over 1,500 Kingstonians have clearly voiced their opposition.
Most constituents don’t want a casino in Kingston, and for good reason.
Opening a casino in Kingston will have strong economic downfalls.
If built downtown, it will take away business from well-established smaller Princess street area operations.
There are also social repercussions. An article published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry clearly delineates that gambling problems are more prevalent in areas that have permanent casinos.
A casino in Kingston will increase accessibility to gambling, and thus put Kingstonians at greater risk of developing these sorts of gambling problems.
While the presence of a casino brings few benefits to Kingstonians, it brings even fewer to students.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that students with problem gambling tendencies were far more likely to display depressive and delinquent behavior.
With Queens’ attempts to address issues of mental health on campus, the presence of a casino, especially in downtown Kingston where students spend most of their leisure time, would counteract much of the hard work done in recent years.
Ultimately, the perceived economic benefits don’t outweigh the social costs.
The answer to the debate is an ethical no brainer.
Kingston doesn’t want a casino and, for the sake of students and other Kingstonians, shouldn’t welcome one into the community.
— Journal Editorial Board
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