May 13, 2016

Dear members of council,
The DBIA board and staff have spent significant time researching the impacts of casinos in cities across
Canada. We’ve seen that casinos work in downtowns and that locations along a major highway on the
edge of the city can cause further harm to other entertainment and commercial districts.
When casinos locate downtown:
• They lead to new investment and revitalization in the surrounding area
• The employees shop, eat, play and live downtown
• Approximately 10% of casino patrons shop and eat at surrounding businesses, which would be about
400 - 500 people on a typical weekend
• Fears of increased crime have not materialized
• Parking and traffic issues can be accommodated, partly because significant amounts of people arrive
by taxi or get dropped off
When casinos locate on the periphery of the city:
• Entertainment options pull people away from downtown venues
• The area around the casino develops into a competing entertainment and hospitality node
We surveyed our members in 2013 and 71% were in favour of a downtown casino. Three years later we
have presented you with a further stack of letters showing support for a downtown casino and concerns
for one near the highway.
There’s a reason why the official plan specifies that major entertainment should be clustered
downtown. We have a number of major developers, represented both on our board and in the
accompanying letters, that rely on the city’s plans when investing in our community. If we’re going to
host a development that will bring significant investment into the community, let’s follow our plans and
put it where it will have the maximum benefit.

Dave Madill, DBIA Chair

313 Water Street, Peterborough, Ontario K9J 7W7 • Tel: (705) 748-4774/5
website: e-mail:

May 12, 2016

Casinos and Downtowns- The Impacts
Thunder Bay- "We Love our Downtown Casino"
The Waterfront BIA's Coordinator Donna Lee who represents 130 businesses say the casino has been in the
downtown for 15 years now with no issues at all to the downtown. In fact it's a great partnership. They provide
$10,000 yearly to their BIA's Ribfest event. The patrons don't necessarily shop in the downtown but some eat
downtown. The 230 employees do shop, eat and use the downtown.
It's Mostly an older demographic that use the facility. They never received one complaint and the BIA members
are 100% positive. They have seen no problems with parking or traffic. They have about 300 parking spots around
the casino and on-street parking. Donna say's "what we thought would happen didn't" in regards to social or crime
issues. The Casino pays an Associate Membership of $300 per year to the BIA. They are just outside of boundary
but still in downtown catchment and most consider it a downtown facility. Donna also notes that it's mostly all
taxis that usually drop and pick people up, not many private cars.
Jim Comuzzi, Chair of the Waterfront District BIA tells us that the OLG Casino in Thunder Bay opened in 2000.
He had his doubts when talk of a casino coming to Thunder Bay's entertainment district started circulating. The
restaurant owner and vice-chair of the city's Business Improvement Area isn't a gambler and says he couldn't help
but wonder how much money locals stood to lose. Thirteen years later, Mr. Comuzzi isn't as skeptical. In fact, he
considers the casino a valuable community partner and a huge draw for the downtown. Jim says, "I can tell you as
a BIA, we would fight to keep this downtown."
Partnerships were developed with hotels, businesses, restaurants and the downtown saw that the Casino was
working hard in bringing people to take in the whole experience of the area. The Casino now is a great downtown
partner and brings much to the table for the downtown.
"For 15 years we have had no issues with the casino, either with parking or traffic. We feel they are a good partner
willing to help, plan and participate in the BIA activities".
The casino was a trigger for development. The Waterfront District of Thunder Bay was described as being
anchored by a dated mall that struggled with high vacancy. In 2000, the Keskus Harbour Mall was reopened as a
casino. The casino is credited with kick-starting an award-winning downtown revitalization. Since 2000, the
Waterfront District has attracted a water park, new marina, skating rink, art gallery, restaurants, bars, condos, and
a hotel.
From the Sudbury Star in 2012: "Since opening this restaurant (Rooster's Bistro) 10 years ago, I found that to be totally
the opposite -- the casino has brought people downtown. (It's) brought a lot more traffic than we've had in the past, and
(people) actually shop, eat and play in the downtown area.

"Not only does it bring people down, but the people that are employed at the casino eat here, shop in the
downtown area and go to the local watering holes in our area. It's not only the people that are coming to gamble,
it's the people that work in the casinos, that are helping our downtown core thrive."
"We have made this more of an attraction to the downtown," he says. "You've got to use the tools you've been
given and we've used it? I can tell you as a (Business Improvement Area), we would fight to keep this downtown."

Brantford "There is a direct line between the casino and the revitalization of downtown". Mayor
Casino profits allowed a performance grant program to be set up for about 7 years that provided up to 25% of the value of a
project to significantly renovate old buildings. This helped bring up residential density in the downtown.

The investments continued in post-secondary education facilities as 2 University and 2 Colleges have programs in
the downtown with this investment capital.
No issues with crime or the other things people assumed would happen with a casino, if anything, it is reduced
with more people downtown. More eyes on the street and movement help in that regard.
On the whole the casino has had a very positive impact on Brantford's downtown according to Annette. More
restaurants and services have been created and retail has stayed about the same.
"The benefits are not really foot traffic but the way the revenue from the casino is invested into improving
downtown" say's Prang. "It brings dedicated employees who are living and working downtown" he adds "creating
huge dividends".
Mayor Chris Friel initially a casino opponent said "there is a direct line between the casino and the revitalization
of downtown".

Windsor BIA
No issues traffic wise, no issues that some people equate to a casino. The downtown would see some spill over
mainly thanks to the 600 employees. The casino has 6 restaurants, a nightclub and a pub inside casino that does
compete with the downtown compliment.
Moncton- "It should have been in the downtown"
Anne Poirier Basque, the executive director of Moncton BIA has a casino just outside of her downtown.
They regret the casino being build a "$20 cab ride from the downtown". She say's "it should have been in the
People go to the casino and then go home with little spinoff to the downtown. They have two restaurants inside
the casino and they are usually full.
Moncton BIA initiated an very successful annual comedy festival in February, which was copied by the casino as
the casino could afford to bring in renowned comedy acts that directly competed with the BIA's festival, creating
an adverse effect.
They are a huge competition for the entertainment dollar. They shuttle our hotel guests to the casino from our
downtown. All the taxis are at the casino after a show and not in the downtown, it's frustrating to the bars. "We
hate the current location" Anne says, adding "coliseums, arenas, casino's need to be in downtowns". They receive
no compensation to their BIA.

London- "It draws people away from the downtown"
London has had a slots facility at its fairgrounds in a location outside the downtown. Kathy McLaughlin, manager
of the MainStreets program run through the London DBIA, says the facility continues to expand its entertainment
options, including more concerts, a food and wine show, trade shows, and multiple arenas. It’s in a partnership
with the agriculture society on the fairgrounds and pays no property tax.
“If they had a hotel, we would be more scared,” she says.
She says the slots have formed a very wealthy businesses district as other businesses have located around it to
benefit from the regional draw and big-budget marketing. Its central location does bring people away from the
highway and the big box nodes at the north and south ends of the city, but she says it also draws people away from
the downtown.
Woodstock- "It still does present competition with downtown businesses".
Woodstock has a slots and racetrack facility in a central location, though at 1.6 KM from the downtown it is not a
walking distance. The downtown BIA considers it a good relationship with the OLG in that the OLG gives back to
the community through downtown event sponsorships and community grants. The facility is successful in pulling
people away from the highway and the commercial nodes along the 401 and drawing them further into the city,
though it does still present competition with downtown businesses.