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Poll Position: Does Toronto Want a Casino?

A majority of Torontonians are in favour, and some strong feelings on both sides.

Overall, would you say you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the idea of building a casino in the City of Toronto?

Strongly support: 20.9%

Somewhat support: 31.2%

Somewhat oppose: 18.5%

Strongly oppose: 23.2%

Not sure: 6.2%

By demographic group…


Poll taken: January 15–18, 2013
Sample size: 906
Margin of Error: +/-3.7%
Methodology: Online panel
Conducted by: Ipsos Reid

NOTES: A majority of Torontonians are in favour of opening a casino here, according to a new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the National Post, Global Television, and Newstalk 1010—52.1% support or strongly support one, while 41.7% are somewhat or strongly opposed. Notable about the results, says Ipsos vice president John Wright, is that those views are anchored by groups with very strong opinions: “There is a lot of talking going on, but people have pretty much made up their minds except for a very small group.” The poll comes as public consultations on a casino wind down (in-person meetings have concluded, and an online survey closes Friday). City staff will prepare a report summarizing the feedback received at those consultations over the coming weeks, and city council is expected to hold its debate about a casino during the April 3-4 council meeting.


  • OgtheDIm

    Hmm….online panel poll. Still would like to see the full methodology, including how they found these people in the first place.

  • Astin44

    Filled out the online survey a while back. I found it wanting a bit. I imagine a further breakdown would yield interesting results.

    For instance – For locales they offer the Ex Grounds, Convention Centre, and out of town if I recall. Woodbine wasn’t listed, or even mentioned until later, where it was proposed as an expansion of existing gaming (slots), not a new full-service casino. I wonder if the question was phrased along the lines of “do you support a casino downtown?” and “do you support a casino at Woodbine?” how the numbers would look. After all, the Etobicoke meeting seemed to have significantly more support for one than the downtown ones. How many downtown residents who don’t want a casino downtown would support one in the west end?

    • kroberts

      Exactly, why should Downtown Toronto have a a Casino jammed down their throats when it’s the people in the suburbs who want it and don’t want it in their suburb – if the casino was going to open in Etobicoke, the Nimby’s would come out in droves to oppose one in their neighborhood – amalgamation strikes again. Downtown vs the Suburbs forever and ever…

      • Canadianskeezix

        How is this amalgamation strikes again? We’d likely be having the same debate if we were still living in the days of Metro Toronto.

        And my impression of the news reports on the Etobicoke public meeting was that people were generally receptive to one in the west end. I don’t recall much in the way of “let’s force a casino on the downtown” in the news reports, but perhaps that aspect was under-reported.

        Torontonians are usually way to quick to look at every issue through the suburban vs. urban lens. It’s so self-defeating.

        • Democratus II

          ‘news’ reports. That’s hillarious. As if they are objective!

          • Canadianskeezix

            Not sure what the point of your comment is. I acknowledged above that the meetings might not have been accurately reported. But the fact remains that the news stories, blogs and tweets covering the event didn’t identify a popular sentiment to force a casino on the downtown. If you have different information, by all means share it. Or are you just complaining about news media in general, unrelated to this topic?

      • Canadianskeezix

        To the extent that a casino is “jammed down [the] throats” of downtown Toronto, it will probably have less to do with NIMBYism in the suburbs, and more to do with the fact that the big gaming companies and the developers are reportedly more interested in downtown locations.

      • OgtheDim

        The % of people who don’t want a casino in the inner suburbs is not insignificant.

        Please do not use the thinking we have about our first past the post winner takes all election system with studying polling results.

    • PlantinMoretus

      The question is moot. The OLG will decide the location of the casino.

    • Nuttinbut Trash

      I don’t care what they build in Etobicoke. If they want a Casino there they can lobby the powers that be to have one built there. We who live downtown don’t want one downtown and unfortunately for us, the money people aren’t interested in building a casino on our terms, but on theirs. We have enough cultural venues, hotels, parks and office towers downtown and we’re also smart enough to know that casino’s are built to keep money inside their facility, not to have it flow to the small businesses that neighbor it. The social costs will be the same no matter where it’s built. The additional cost of policing the place and of providing emergency health care to gamblers will be the same. I don’t think we need a casino in Toronto at all personally. I’m willing to compromise and let the burbs do what they want….in the burbs though.

      • Canadianskeezix

        “We who live downtown don’t want one downtown”

        The opinion poll seems to indicate that opinion is divided, even downtown. Do you have different figures?

        “We have enough cultural venues, hotels, parks and office towers downtown”

        That will come as a surprise to many, and seems contrary to virtually all city policies.

        “The social costs will be the same no matter where it’s built. The
        additional cost of policing the place and of providing emergency health
        care to gamblers will be the same. …. I’m willing to compromise and let the burbs do what they want….in the burbs though.”

        Wow. So the tremendous social, policing and health costs and huge costs are okay as long as they are damaging others?

        • Democratus II

          It ought to be enough to look at the results to question them. Is it even remotely possible that people who live in the old TO want a Casino? Is it remotely possible that nearly half of them do? I think not. Ask them if they want the bird flu. I suspect that if you used the same fishing pole to find out about the bird flu, you could establish a large minority of small majority in favor of it. These are people who have voted against every right-leaning proposal in the last ten years. And this one is supposed to be different? Methinks the owners of the survey cooked the process.

          • Canadianskeezix

            If you think they cooked the survey, then please explain how. What are your specific concerns with the methodology or the polling firm’s practices? It is easy to throw around accusations without any evidence, but harder to point to concrete problems. And it is not entirely correct that everyone in the downtown has voted against every right-leaning proposal in the last ten years. Just to name one example, garbage pick-up privatization inexplicably seemed to have wide support across the entire city. Voters don’t always stick to right and left labels the way some people expect/want them to.

          • Roger

            1. While not stated in the press release or media this isn’t a random telephone survey. At the end of the press document the fine print admits participants “from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel were interviewed online.”
            2. This survey was commissioned and paid for by the National Post & Global TV (Post-media) whose CEO is Paul Godfrey also the chair of the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation.
            3. This is a classic push-survey similar to the Casino sponsored telephone ‘surveys’ I’ve been receiving for months. The doc describes the questions as “education.” There are more pro-arguments than con. The pro-arguments are long, containing multiple points backed up with numbers while the brief con-arguments come off as opinions as they lack numbers/ specifics. You get what you pay for.
            I sent this to the National Post poll comments section last week but for some reason it wasn’t approved. Apparently bit-ching about right or left wingers is more to their taste.

          • Canadianskeezix

            That’s a more legitimate questioning of the poll results (except for the reference to Global TV, which isn’t owned by Postmedia). Although, as I said in an earlier post, even if all of those factors were absent, I still do not think the poll results are worth much.

  • Canadianskeezix

    I wouldn’t pay much attention to opinion polls at this stage. I’d say the same thing if this poll had shown a majority in opposition to a casino. There are so many unknowns at this stage, and opinions on both sides are based primarily on speculation (some of it groundless).

    As things currently stand, the casino will revitalize or destroy the CNE, the Port Lands, the Convention Centre, Rexdale, etc. The casino might end up in Markham, which would be a close call/lost opportunity. The casino will put anywhere from nothing to $400 million a year in City coffers! The casino will/won’t pay for subways! subways! subways! The casino will need a few hundred/a few thousand parking spaces! The casino will be a unique attraction to entice tourists and conventions to come to Toronto, or will be virtually indistinguishable from casinos being built across North America by desperate cities! The casino will increase/steal customers frequenting other businesses in the city! The casino will create good/marginal jobs! The casino will/will not create huge social problems!

    It is very difficult to have an informed opinion at this stage, and opinion may shift (in either direction) once people have a more concrete idea of what is being proposed.

    • Lee Zamparo

      Port Lands is a no go; no company is going to pay to build a casino in the middle of nowhere. There are no roads, no electricity, no sewage nor water service. It’s a bizarre inclusion in the survey, given that every company that’s interested in Casino Toronto is passing on the Port Lands. See John Lorinc’s article in spacing for more details.

      • Canadianskeezix

        Agreed. I had read the Lorinc article. By far the biggest issue is that the Port Lands are within a floodplain and it will cost hundreds of millions to floodproof the lands. The land values out there are not high enough to justify any development at the moment, absent huge public subsidies.

        Your note about the Port Lands being a “bizarre inclusion” is absolutely true, but nonetheless the lands are repeatedly touted (usually by the media) as a potential location of a casino. That goes to my point about opinion polls generally being useless at this stage, because there are so many misconceptions, false information and unknowns permeating the discussion.

        • Lee Zamparo

          Agreed on all fronts.

  • Mark Sherman

    ahh! like most of toronto politics we have over simplified and wedged this debate. Yes, or no, and where. What about how? There is so many more interesting and innovative ways to use the numbers games then simply ‘build a casino’ in the style of a mega wallmart development. Let’s broaden the discussion and see what cool, made in toronto type of solutions might emerge!

  • Nuttinbut Trash

    Somewhat support doesn’t equal anything close to full support while over 42% oppose a casino. I want to see it broken down. We in the downtown core don’t want any part of a casino. If the suburbs want it they can have it. Unfortunately nobody wants to build it there.

    • Canadianskeezix

      It was broken down by other media. The downtown numbers were not as one-sided as you would seem to have liked.

  • Casino suppoter

    I strongly support to build Casino in Toronto.

  • me

    I vote a bolded, underlined, italicized, resounding ‘NO’ to the Casino in Toronto.