Economic Impact of Casinos: Examining the Effect of Gambling on Local Economies

Gambling on Local Economies

The casino industry in Canada has grown considerably over the last decade, both in terms of physical casinos and online platforms. In 2020 alone, the gambling industry in Canada generated over CAD$17 billion in revenue, demonstrating the significant economic impact of this industry. Ontario, with over 25 casinos, leads the provinces in terms of revenue.

However, online gambling is increasingly becoming a significant player in this sector, with numerous online platforms becoming household names across the country.

But, how exactly do these casinos contribute to the local economy? What roles do they play in job creation, tourism, and community development? Is the impact purely positive, or are there complexities we need to consider? These are critical questions we’ll explore in this analysis.

Along the way, we’ll uncover some surprising facts and compelling stories that illustrate the multifaceted impact of the casino industry on Canada’s local economies. We’ll also explore how some of the flagship casino Canada online (and real-time) platforms have, indeed, surged the local economy positively.

So, without further ado, let’s dive deeper into the numerous effects and boosts of the surge of casinos and gambling on the Canadian local economy, considering that the majority of the world’s countries experience the same changes, with minor changes and geo-adaptations here and there.

Job Creation

Statistics Canadas 2019 casino

Casinos are significant employment generators. As per Statistics Canada’s 2019 report, gambling industries directly supported around 182,500 jobs.

The roles offered are diverse, and they usually include:

  • Gaming operators
  • Dealers
  • Hospitality staff
  • Entertainment staff
  • Marketing professionals
  • Security personnel.

Further, casinos often offer comprehensive training programs, opening the doors for those who might lack certain job skills. This job creation extends beyond the casino floor.

For example, in large resort-style casinos, roles in hotel management, event planning, and culinary arts also become available. It can significantly contribute to reducing unemployment rates, particularly in regions that may have limited employment opportunities.

employment opportunities

Increase in Tourism

Casinos, particularly larger ones, act as a major draw for tourists. An example is Casino Niagara in Ontario, which is part of a larger entertainment complex.

This casino attracts millions of visitors each year. These tourists contribute to the local economy beyond their spending in the casino, with spill-over effects felt in the local hospitality, retail, and entertainment sectors. In addition, tourism associated with casinos often contributes to the wider regional tourism strategies, supporting marketing campaigns, and generating demand for additional tourist amenities, which can lead to further investments and jobs in the tourism sector. Not to mention the private-public partnerships and the space for implementing governmental resources to attract even more tourists!

Tax Revenues

Casinos contribute significantly to government coffers through gaming taxes and licensing fees.

In fiscal year 2017-2018, Canadian gaming industries generated CAD$17.1 billion in revenue, with a significant portion of this figure attributable to casino gaming. This revenue supports a wide range of government services. For example, in British Columbia, gaming revenue helps fund healthcare, education, and community programs throughout the province. It’s an essential fiscal contribution that can help ease the tax burden on other sectors of the economy.

As long as we keep gambling off the forbidden, gray area, and keep it responsible – the potential revenue and contribution to other sectors of the economy are undisputed!

Stimulation of Local Economy

The presence of a casino can lead to an increase in local economic activity. The spending associated with both the operation of the casino (such as wages and procurement of goods and services) and the spending of casino-goers can stimulate the local economy. Other local businesses, including retailers, restaurants, and hotels, can see a boost in income. There have been also written notions of the connections between the casino and the fashion industry – an inevitable glamour!

For example, in the Greater Vancouver area, the presence of casinos like River Rock Casino has contributed to the vibrancy of the local economy, benefiting a broad range of local businesses. Moreover, experiences prove that the transportation services of both, local and private transportation in these areas have increased significantly, considering many of the guests would like completely careless entertainment and wouldn’t risk driving around by themselves.

Infrastructure Development

Infrastructure development is often associated with large casino projects. To accommodate an influx of tourists and to support the operation of the casino, upgrades to local roads, public transport, and utilities are often needed.

For instance, when Casino Rama was built in Orillia, Ontario, the project included significant infrastructure upgrades. This not only benefits the casino and its visitors but can lead to broader community benefits through improved transport and utility networks.

utility networks

Property Value Increase

Areas with successful casino developments can see increases in property values. This can be a result of several factors, including:

  • Increased demand for housing from casino employees,
  • Increased demand for places to host guests,
  • An increased commercial attractiveness due to the presence of the casino, or
  • Broader economic growth in the region.

For example, the property market in Niagara Falls has been positively influenced by the presence of casinos and the associated increase in tourism and commercial activity.

Cultural and Entertainment Advancements

Casinos in Canada often serve as cultural hubs, providing venues for a variety of entertainment events. River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, BC, for example, has a theatre that hosts concerts, comedy shows, and a range of other performances.

Numerous casino examples have their own water lands, golfing courts, and various other sporting and entertainment venues within the price of staying there. You could easily have them wrong for some all-inclusive resort, right?

These entertainment options can enrich the local cultural scene, providing residents with access to entertainment they might otherwise have to travel to larger cities to experience. It also adds to the region’s attractiveness for tourists, supporting the broader tourism sector.

Funding for Community Projects

Canadian casinos

Many Canadian casinos contribute directly to local community projects. In Ontario, for example, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation distributes funds to host municipalities. In 2018, this amounted to CAD$2.5 billion distributed amongst 22 communities.

These funds can be used to support a wide range of community initiatives, public works, and infrastructure projects, helping to improve community facilities and services.

Promoting Other Local Industries

The operation of a casino requires a wide range of goods and services, from food for restaurants to maintenance services and products. When casinos choose to source these goods and services locally, it helps stimulate local businesses and the wider local economy.

This can lead to increased profits for local businesses, support for local farmers and producers, and potential job creation in sectors supplying goods and services to the casino.

Economic Diversification

Economic Diversification 1

The presence of a casino can contribute to diversifying a local economy that might be too dependent on one or two industries. This is especially crucial in areas that have been hit by the decline of industries like manufacturing or mining.

The introduction of the casino industry provides new opportunities for employment and business, helping to create a more balanced and resilient local economy. This has been the case in several regions across Canada, where the introduction of casinos has contributed to economic diversification.

Increase in Local Investment

Successful casinos can stimulate further investment in the local area, whether it’s coming from the government or private sources.

This can include additional commercial development such as hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets, or residential development to accommodate increased demand for housing. For instance, the area around the Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, has seen significant investment and development, stimulated in part by the success of the casino.

Creation of Indirect Jobs

Beyond the direct employment created by casinos, there are also many indirect jobs created in related sectors.

For example, the increase in tourism associated with a casino can lead to more jobs in sectors like hospitality and transportation. Moreover, the operation of a casino requires a range of goods and services, creating demand that can lead to job creation in sectors such as food production, maintenance services, and business services. These indirect jobs can significantly add to the total economic impact of a casino.

Indirect Jobs

Wrapping Up

Each of these effects can contribute to the positive economic impact of casinos on local economies in Canada. However, it’s important to remember that these impacts can vary depending on local conditions, the scale of the casino, and effective regulation and management of the casino industry.

Whatever the case may be, as long as investments and gambling are kept in the legal area, and gaming is restricted to responsible gaming – the casino and gambling industry is a multiverse of possibilities for the local, national, and international economy as well!