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UNLV Report Studies Economic Impact of a Casino-Resort Development in Toronto

UNLV International Gaming Institute issues fifth and final report of series on policy debates related to casino-resort in Greater Toronto Area.
Research  |  Jan 7, 2013  |  By Afsha Bawany
Media Contact: Afsha Bawany, UNLV Office of Media Relations, (702) 895-5515

A UNLV International Gaming Institute report suggests that a proposed integrated casino-resort model in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is a best-practice design to maximize the economic benefits of casino expansion. This fifth and final report in a series focused on policy debates regarding gaming expansion in the region focuses on the economic impacts of casino-resort expansion.

UNLV researchers Kahlil S. Philander and Bo Bernhard find that the model would draw tourists to the non-gaming amenities and a proposed development should not have negative impacts on nearby property values - it may increase both commercial and residential property values near the casino-resort.

The report also examines whether tax revenue from a casino would tend to disproportionally come from lower income groups. Researchers find that casino taxes are regressive, but less so than other forms of gaming. Researchers advise that if the tax revenue raised from casinos is used to benefit lower income groups, "then the net incidence of the tax may actually be progressive rather than regressive." One way that is suggested would be to fund public transportation projects with the tax revenue.

Researchers also found economic impact estimates produced by the accounting firm Ernst & Young for the City of Toronto to be reasonable estimates, but have some concerns about the report. The authors note that the estimates, "generally appear to be reasonable, insofar as their assumptions prove to be correct, but these estimates may also be subject to more (upside and downside) risk than was implied in their report."

The reports are supported by a grant from the Canadian Gaming Association and are part of a series that examines the potential development of a casino-resort in the Greater Toronto Area. Full reports are available at www.unlv.edu/igi/research.