Comment 82784

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 22:52:15

At the Hamilton Gaming Facility Proposal Subcommittee (Casino) meeting on Nov 9/12, OLG representatives estimated that gaming revenues to the City of Hamilton would decrease by 10% to 15% if the gaming facility stays at Flamboro Downs vis-à-vis a projected revenue increase of 5% to 10% if a casino was constructed downtown. If these estimates are correct, it would result in a revenue difference in the range of 15% to 25%.

If we use the $4.5 Million gaming revenue payment Hamilton received in 2012 for illustrative purposes, the 15% to 25% revenue variation between a casino at Flamboro Downs or a casino elsewhere in Hamilton would be somewhere in the range of $675,000 to $1.125 Million per year. Hamilton would still net an annual gaming revenue payment in the range of $3,375 Million to $3,825 Million by having a casino at Flamboro Downs and there would be almost as many casino-related jobs at either location.

With the cancellation of the Slots for Racetracks program effective March 31, 2013, the survival of Flamboro Downs becomes immaterial to OLG. But for the Hamilton community, the survival of horse racing at Flamboro Downs continues to be an urgent matter. Its demise would result in the contraction or complete collapse of the local horse racing industry and local farms and agricultural businesses that support it and are, in large part, supported by it. It has been estimated that as many as 3,000 local jobs in and near Hamilton could be lost if the Flamboro Downs racetrack closes.

Hamilton city council needs to quickly verify whether the estimated economic impact of losing Flamboro Downs is accurate. If it is, then saving Flamboro Downs is worth much more to the local economy than the $675,000 to $1.125 Million per year in additional gaming revenue that can be gleaned from a downtown Hamilton casino. And if placing a casino at Flamboro Downs is now the only chance it has to survive, then the Hamilton community needs to craft a decision that works for Hamilton and specify that Flamboro Downs is the sole location for a Hamilton casino.

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