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Toronto Board of Health votes against proposed casino

Caesars Entertainment and Rock Gaming's early vision for a downtown Toronto gaming entertainment facility, which could be developed that the Metro Toronto Convention Center. CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORP.

Another voice has joined the chorus of opposition to a proposed casino complex in Toronto.

Citing potential negative impacts of a new gambling facility, Toronto’s Board of Health voted unanimously against the idea on Monday.

While some impacts of a gaming facility could be positive with new job creation, most of outcomes would be negative, it said in a report.

“As concluded in the previous report, increases in problem gambling are the most important health impacts of a new casino in Toronto,” the board states. “With respect to all other potential impacts, the available evidence indicates that the introduction of a new casino is likely to have greater adverse health-related impacts than beneficial impacts.”

The board said evidence correlating a casino, increased crime rates and local economic development is “inconclusive.”

“A review of available evidence, largely from other jurisdictions, indicates that increased employment and income, if generated as expected, could have positive impacts on health, although shift work and irregular hours may cause negative health consequences to casino workers,” the report states. “On the other hand, increased motor vehicle traffic could increase injuries and air pollution related illness.”

Last month the city wrapped up a series of public consultations on a proposed casino — first pitched last year by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. City council is expected to make a final decision on the issue in April.

The heads of MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands both outlined their visions for integrated resorts in Toronto during recent visits. MGM wants to build a facility on the CNE grounds. Sands wants to build at the Metro Convention Centre. Both companies said gambling wouldn’t be the focus of their projects.