NEWS

GTA faith leaders oppose building new casinos in region

04/04/2013 06:12 EDT | Updated 06/04/2013 05:12 EDT
Leaders representing Toronto's interfaith community have joined together to urge city councillors to vote against accepting any new casinos.

The group gathered together in the rotunda at Toronto City Hall today to present 260 signatures from faith leaders who oppose recent proposals to expand gambling in the Greater Toronto Area.

"We are convinced that casinos contribute to family breakdown, depression, addiction, bankruptcies and crime, and thus are antithetical to our mission as faith traditions to strengthen individuals, families and communities," read a statement released by the group.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has long championed the idea of building a casino in downtown Toronto because of the potential to create jobs and boost revenue for the city.

In January, three former mayors addressed a letter to Ford saying they oppose a casino.

"Beware the sales pitch. The numbers don't always add up," read the letter penned by David Crombie, John Sewell, and Art Eggleton.

The faith leaders called on governments to "reject this predatory industry as a solution to economic and fiscal problems,” and instead "protect the most vulnerable in our society from casinos that exploit human weaknesses and addictions."

The amount of money that Toronto would potentially see from a casino is still not clear.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation had estimated that the city could rake in $50 million to $100 million annually.

OLG chair Paul Godfrey backed down from those estimates last month, however, after it seemed Toronto was given a sweeter deal when compared to other municipalities.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has asked OLG to review the casino-revenue sharing formula.

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