Tag Archives: addiction

Dr. Fred Bass, MD, Former Vancouver City Councillor, opposes casino expansion

Address to Council by Dr. Fred Bass, Former Vancouver City Councillor, MD, DSc, Consultant in Preventive Medicine. Among his other distinctions Dr. Bass holds a graduate degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Mr Mayor and Council,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

My trade is that of epidemiologist and tobacco addiction specialist. Epidemiology is the study of the determinants of health and illness in populations. My training in this area was at Harvard and Johns Hopkins.

I am wearing an Alligator Hat today that was given to me by smokers who appreciated learning that what controls their smoking behavior was not their thinking brain but their primitive—amphibian, Alligator Brain—the same part of the brain that controls problem gambling.

One of you asked the first evening, “What proportion of gambling money is spent by problem gamblers?”

That was a brilliant question. As the movie said, “Follow the money!” The lottery folks pleaded ignorance in their response.

The central issue here is not:
“What proportion of people are problem gamblers?”
but
“What proportion of dollars gambled are problem dollars?”

I will use a Solicitor General’s report of March 2003 to answer that question.

In response to “How much do you spend on gambling in an average month?”, the survey respondents told us that
20% spend less than $1 a month
45% spend $1-$10 a month
22% spend $11-$49 a month
6% spend $50-$99 a month
3% spend $100 to $199 a month and another
3% spend $200 or more

With the modest assumption that the $200 or more group spend $300 per month, we can answer the question what proportion of $ gambled comes from what proportion of the population.

The answer is that a bit over 50% ($1350 of $2695) of the money gambled came from 6% of those who gambled, which is 4.5% of the total population.

Coincidentally, the prevalence of problem gambling that year (2002) was estimated to be 4.6% of the total population.

This study also found that casino gamblers had a significantly higher proportion of problem gamblers 8.8% instead of 4.6% overall average. That’s almost twice the average prevalence.
Casinos appear to attract and/or produce problem gamblers.

In this room 25 years ago, when I was advocating for smoke-free pubs and restaurants, many union employees in the hospitality industry appeared as delegations to argue that smoke-free by-laws would ruin their jobs and their lives. You have heard similar statements from many casino employees.

Some strong words now: Like the tobacco industry, the casino industry is a parasitic industry. Gambling is not sustainable: witness their return, asking for gambling expansion just five years after their previous injection of a casino.

I believe the public, for the most part, has intuitively recognized that expanding slots from 600 to 1500 and gaming tables from 75 to 150 would not be good for this city.

My advice for those seeking re-election this fall is to reject expansion of the casino.

Respectfully,

Frederic Bass, MD, DSc

Dominique Gross: Vancouver needs a new museum, not a casino

By Dominique Gross, Professor of Public Policy, SFU

Vancouver needs a new museum. Here is why a museum, not a casino, is the future:

The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain designed by Frank Gehry (a Canadian architect) has been attracting around 800,000 visitors per year since its opening, and 82% came EXCLUSIVELY for the museum.

The economic impact in 2001 was estimated around $150 million. It brought about 25 millions in taxes equivalent to about 4,415 jobs.

Visitors spent about $43 millions in accommodation, $35 millions in catering, $13 millions in shopping, $9.5 millions in transports and $6.6 million in leisure (numbers from Forbes).

The Bilbao museum is one of the top attractions in Spain.

The Bilbao museum cost about $190 millions in 2010 dollars ($100 millions to build in 1997 plus $20 millions endowment).

The Frank Gehry Guggenheim museum does not generate addiction that destroys individuals and their family.
The Frank Gehry Guggenheim museum does not support organised crime.
The Frank Gehry Guggenheim museum construction cost less than 1/2 of the planned casino.

Vancouver will not become a world class city with a giant casino. Who believes Nice (France), Las Vegas (US), Macao (China) are world class cities? Only those who encourage greed as a driver of human behaviour rather than culture and knowledge.

Dominique Gross is Professor at the School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University. She has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Toronto and has also worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington , DC and the International Labour Office (ILO), in Geneva, where she had the opportunity to teach and develop economic research programmes in several Sub-Sahara African countries.

In her research, she specializes in applied international labour and finance macroeconomic questions. She is particularly interested in the relationship between domestic policies and international immigrant and foreign investment location decisions. The main geographical focuses of her research are Europe and North America. She has published in academic journals, in edited books as well as produced policy studies with an international perspective for the CD Howe Institute in Toronto , the ILO, the IMF and the World Bank.

Parents shouldn’t blow college fund at casino

“If the mega casino were to be built, my parents would probably go there almost every week. Perhaps they could spend their money on my university tuition; it’s just a thought.”

Parents shouldn’t blow college fund at casino
Letter to the editor, Vancouver Courier

BY JENNIFER LUI
MARCH 25, 2011

To the editor:

Re: “12th and Cambie,” March 18.

I strongly disagree with the idea of building a mega casino in Vancouver. Casinos have a way of sucking the money out of everyone who goes there. The casino itself would make money, but for the family members of the customers, it is a disaster waiting to happen. As a Grade 12 student determined to go to university, I’d like my parents to spend their money on a more meaningful cause. Perhaps they could spend their money on my university tuition; it’s just a thought. If the mega casino were to be built, my parents would probably go there almost every week.

I would rather not see them constantly lose money since they usually do every time they step foot inside a casino. It’s not a pretty sight.

Jennifer Lui,

Vancouver

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Unified in Action – Vancouver churches oppose casino expansion

The following is an historic letter from major downtown Vancouver churches in opposition to the expansion of the Edgewater Casino. The churches are St. Andrew’s Wesley, Central Presbyterian Church, Christ Church Cathedral, First Baptist Church, and St. Paul’s Anglican Church:

Unified in Action

Clergy and Staff from Downtown Vancouver Churches

Mayor and Council
City of Vancouver

March 9, 2011

Re: Mega-Casino Opposition
Dear Mayor Robertson and City Council:

The undersigned, clergy and staff from major downtown Vancouver churches have agreed, personally and collectively, to stand in opposition to the proposed expansion of The Edgewater Casino in The Yaletown-False Creek area.

We are particularly concerned that the people of Vancouver have not been adequately consulted on the subject of gambling expansion in the city, and we are especially concerned that those who work and reside in the Vancouver downtown core have not been adequately informed of the plans to redefine life in the downtown area through the construction of this mega-casino.

We do not support the enormous expansion of the Edgewater Casino and its proximity to the soon-to-be-reopened BC Place Stadium, particularly when it is proposed to become the centrepiece of a large “entertainment complex” complete with hotels, restaurants, and other facilities.

Well documented social ills which accompany any and all casino developments are more than sufficient reasons for us to oppose this planned development. Our resistance is magnified even further when we see the scale of the casino that is proposed to be located in the heart of downtown!

We call on Vancouver Mayor and City Council to impose a moratorium on all gaming expansion in our municipality pending a full and comprehensive public review of gambling, its regulation, and the appropriate gaming revenue-sharing formula with municipalities and non-profit organizations.

From: St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church
Rev. Gary Paterson, Senior Minister
Jennifer Cunnings, Minister of Children, Families and Seniors
Tim Scorer, Minister of Adult Formation
Michael Dobbin, Director of Development

From: Central Presbyterian Church
Rev. Jim Smith, Minister

From: Christ Church Cathedral
The Very Reverend Dr. Peter Elliott, Dean,
The Venerable Dr. Ellen Clark-King, Associate
The Reverend Alisdair Smith, Deacon
The Reverend Chris Dierkes, Curate,
The Reverend Dixie Black, Deacon

From: First Baptist Church
Rev. Darrell W. Johnson, Senior Minister
Rev. Dr. John Cuddeford, Minister
Andrea Tisher, Dir. of Music & Worship
Rev. Bob Swann, Minister of Mission & Justice
Judy Lang, Ass. Minister for Congregational Care
Pastor Janet G. Porcino, Minister of Discipleship
Luz Figueroa, Director of Children and Family Ministries
Rev. Abraham Han, Minister of Urban & Community Life

From: St. Paul’s Anglican Church
The Rev. Markus Duenzkofer, Incumbent


 

Edgewater mega-casino fact sheet

THE RAW FACTS ABOUT PARAGON GAMING’S PROPOSED EDGEWATER CASINO EXPANSION AT B.C. PLACE

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Connection with B.C. Place Stadium: direct link to stadium attendees, with a separated walkway directly to the casino from corporate suites.

Size of gambling space in the expanded Edgewater Casino: 2 football fields

Size of this casino compared to all casinos in western Canada: #1

Number of electronic slot machines in current Edgewater Casino: 520

Number of electronic slot machines in expanded Edgewater Casino: 1,500

Percentage of electronic slot revenues estimate to come from problem gamblers: 35%

Number of studies done in B.C. to determine the social, crime and financial costs of problem gamblers in this province: none

Cost of policing, addictions, suicides, fraud, courts related to problem gamblers using this casino: unknown

Estimated annual cost of a problem gambler from missed work, fraud, bankruptcies, receiverships, embezzlements: $13,200

ABOUT THE PROCESS

Date that B.C. Lottery Corporation chair Richard Turner buys shares in Paragon’s Alberta business: 2003

Date that Turner discloses that interest: 2005

Date that Turner resigns from BCLC board: late 2005

Date that Paragon Gaming purchases Edgewater Casino out of bankruptcy and installs Turner on the board of Paragon: summer 2006

Amount of donation by Richard Turner to B.C. Liberals while Paragon’s bid is awaiting a decision by Pavco in 2009: $50,000

Time between Pavco’s invitation to two short-listed companies responding to a request for expressions of interest in this $450-million project and its announcement of Paragon as the preferred proponent: less than 11 weeks

Normal time for big government projects to determine the best proponent, according to Partnerships B.C.: 12-16 months.

Number of minutes spent debating Edgewater’s expanded casino by Vancouver City Council: 0

ABOUT BROKEN PROMISES TO THE CITY OF VANCOUVER

Projected return of expanded Edgewater casino to City of Vancouver: $10 million in new revenue from gambling

Projected revenue to City of Vancouver from Edgewater’s original casino in 2004: $10-12-million in new revenues

Actual annual return of Edgewater Casino to City of Vancouver over the past two years: $6.3 million

Promise to arts groups and charities in 2004: increased funding
What charities got in 2010: 14% less than they got in 1995
What BC Lottery Corporation got in 2010: about three times as much revenue as 1995.

Promise to bingo players and their funding recipients in 2004: New Planet Bingo hall at Edgewater
Status of promise in 2011: Never delivered

ABOUT PARAGON GAMING

Number of slot machines in Paragon’s only Las Vegas operation, a sports bar: 15

Source of Paragon’s financing for Vancouver: unknown

Number of jobs promised by Paragon in 2010 bid for a casino in Missouri: 573

Number of jobs calculated by the Missouri Department of Economic Development for the same project: 280

Estimated hd projector
best wireless speakers
partial knee replacement
general contractor
drug addiction
knee pain
opiate addiction
construction company
annual revenue by Paragon in Missouri bid: $103.4 million

Estimated real new annual revenue calculated by the Missouri independent review of the same project: $21.7 million

Status of Paragon bids to build casinos in Sugar Creek, Missouri; Moncton, New Brunswick; Oxnard, California; and Ventura County, California: all failed

Answer of Unite Here, a union of 100,000 gaming workers across North America, to the question: “Is Paragon really the right company to take on this project?”: “no”

Disturbing event that occurred at Paragon’s Cree River Casino outside Edmonton in August 2010: customer murdered after a fight in a lounge that spilled outside.

ABOUT CRIME AND GAMBLING IN B.C.

The two best places to meet gangsters in B.C., according to Fred Pinnock, former Commander, Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team: in jails and in casinos

Hours of shifts of loan sharks at River Rock Casino revealed in Oct. 2006 murder trial of loan shark Lily Li: 24/7

Percentage increase in gambling-related crime reported by Richmond RCMP after River Rock’s establishment: 400%

Percentage of money-laundering and terrorism financing cases discovered in 2008-9 that took place in casinos, according to FINTRAC: 20%

Date that RCMP’s Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team issued a report to the provincial government warning of “extreme vulnerability” of casino industry to organized crime–money laundering, infiltration, loan sharking: January, 2009

Date that B.C.’s Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team was disbanded by the provincial government: February, 2009

Date that BC Lottery Corporation was fined $670,000 by FINTRAC for repeated failure to monitor suspicious transactions, the first fine of its kind in Canada: Summer, 2010

Number of dollars involved in suspicious cash transactions at 2 casinos in Metro Vancouver, including $460k in 20’s in plastic bags, and a suitcase with $1.2 million in casino chips, revealed by CBC in 2010: $8 million.

Reaction of Insp. Baxter, head of RCMP Proceeds of Crime Unit, to these transactions: “suspicious”

Reaction to these transactions of Rich Coleman, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor-General, also in charge of raising revenues through gambling in B.C.: “not suspicious”

Number of sentences in Vancouver city staff’s 55-page report on the B.C. Place rezoning mentioning organized crime or money-laundering: 1

ABOUT THE ECONOMIC CASE

Amount listed in Deloitte report on this project as an annual capital payback from B.C. Lottery Corporation to Paragon: $16.9 million

Estimated increase in business over Edgewater’s current revenues: 180%

Percentage of North American casino customers who live within 45 minutes of the casino: 90%

Paragon’s estimate of the number of gamblers expected to come to Vancouver every day exclusively to gamble in the new casino and stay in its 648 new hotel rooms: 548.

Feb. 2011 comment by veteran hotel broker Angus Wilkinson on the demand for new hotels needed in the city: “This city doesn’t need another single hotel room.”

Amount that would have to be charged per night for a new hotel to survive financially in Vancouver, according to Wilkinson: $400/night

Average hotel room rate in Vancouver in 2010: $166/night

Testimony of US professor Robert Goodman, non-partisan expert on gambling, economics and urban design

This is a long video, but engaging and worth watching. It focuses to some extent on the impacts of gambling when it is placed near residential areas, but it is full of information relevant to any casino application in North America.

Bob Goodman is a Professor of Economic Development, Urban Planning and Environmental Design at Amherst in Massachussetts. He was retained in the early 90s by the Ford Foundation to carry out a study of the economic costs and benefits of legalized gambling. The original study was done for local governments who were trying to decide whether to allow gambling expansion. He has produced a number of major studies and economic analyses of gambling expansion throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and has been hired by both Democrat and Republican administrations and sat on numerous federal committees.

The video of Goodman was is from a 2008 public hearing for a proposed gambling expansion in Philadelphia. His study of over 200 towns has shown that with very few exceptions the introduction of gambling has had serious adverse affects on business and local economies.

It should be noted that Goodman comes from a union family and has a strong concern for jobs (he’s currently working on the job crisis in Detroit). He makes clear that he has no moral objections to gambling, and confesses that he gambles a little himself and has played in poker tournaments.

Click here for a summary of his report Legalized Gambling: Public Policy and Economic Development Issues (pdf). It summarizes his testimony before Congress and was published in the Fall 1995 edition of Economic Development Review.

Our coalition’s presentations to Vancouver City Council on gambling expansion, February 1

Today several members of our Vancouver Not Vegas! Coalition are speaking to Vancouver City Council on the topic of general gaming expansion in the City of Vancouver. The opportunity to speak to Council has come as a result of a motion by Councillor Ellen Woodsworth, calling for further examination of gaming practices in British Columbia before the City of Vancouver proceeds with allowing further gaming expansion within its jurisdiction.

Our coalition is speaking in support of Councillor Woodsworth’s motion.

For presentations by Amir Alibhai, Sean Bickerton and Tom Durrie, read on. For a longer presentation by Sandy Garossino, click here.


Amir Ali Alibhai

January 31, 2011
Dear Mayor and Council:

The Alliance for Arts and Culture encourages Mayor and Council to adopt the
motion, moved by Councillors Woodsworth and Cadman regarding Casino
Development in our City. We have also been asked to speak on behalf of the
BC Association for Charitable Gaming (BCACG), which has submitted a written
submission. Together our organizations represent over 6,500 member
organizations and individuals. Motion B.6 addresses growing concerns in
this City and Province that Gaming has been expanded in an unchecked manner
and operates in a non-transparent and potentially conflicted way. The huge
revenues generated through this aggressive expansion have been attained on
the backs of charities, non-profits, municipalities and communities across
this province. In spite of this increase in revenues, the amount of funds
provided to charities and non-profits has decreased! We estimate that the
recent loss of funds to Metro Vancouver arts and cultural organizations will
be about $4 Million annually!

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Costs of Gambling – comprehensive study

The following study is available at Casino Watch, a US website providing resources and research on the casino industry in North America. (You may also be interested in the Oregon site “PACT: People Against a Casino Town.”) The following study was conducted in the 1990s at the University of Illinois:

“Business Profitability Versus Social Profitability: Evaluating Industries with Externalities, The Case of the Casino Industry”

By Earl L. Grinols and David B. Mustard
Download the PDF

 

Abstract

Casino gambling is a social issue, because in addition to the direct benefits to those who own and use casinos, positive and negative externalities are reaped and borne by those who do not gamble. To correctly assess the total economic impact of casinos, one must distinguish between business profitability and social profitability. This paper provides the most comprehensive framework for addressing the theoretical cost-benefit issues of casinos by grounding cost-benefits analysis on household utility. It also discusses the current state of knowledge about the estimates of both the positive and negative externalities generated by casinos. Last, it corrects many prevalent errors in the debate over the economics of casino gambling.

Highlights

At the conclusion of its investigation, the commission recommended a national moratorium on the expansion of gambling and more study of gambling’s effects, costs and benefits, before making further decisions about it.

Many studies pay a great deal of attention, for example, to estimating the number of direct and indirect jobs that casinos create and to tallying the taxes casinos pay, but do not explain the social value of an additional job or calculate the lost taxes of competing non-casino businesses.

For example, the effect of casino gambling on firm profits should be summed over all firms, not just casinos. The increased profits of the casinos should be netted against lost profits of other firms that compete for consumer spending.

If casinos temporarily reduced unemployment faster than it would have fallen otherwise, this transitory effect could correctly be counted as a benefit of casinos. However, we know of no study that has made this case.

Although casino profits and taxes are highly visible, they are invalid measures of social benefits because they do not adjust for the entire economy for the lost profits and taxes of competing businesses.

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