Insight: How Do You Feel About Having a New Casino in Toronto?

We here at MPI are constantly analysing the characteristics of place in relation to indicators such as voting share, education or patents, amongst others in order to better understand the demographics of particular regions. Recently, the City of Toronto released results from a survey of city residents that was undertaken at the request of the City Council’s Executive Committee to obtain the public’s input on the building of a Casino in Toronto. We here at the Martin Prosperity Institute have broken down the results of this survey in order to determine if there were any patterns to the locations of those more in favour of a casino in Toronto versus those more opposed to the development.

Exhibit 1: Breakdown of total survey responses

Exhibit 1: Breakdown of total survey responses

For the analysis, the survey is sorted by the responder’s home postal code. The postal codes were self-reported by the survey takers and contained some invalid codes. For the purpose of our analysis we only used those that were valid City of Toronto postal codes. The data was collected between November 2012 to January 2013. For this Insight we weighted the responses to create an overall score that measures the geographic strength of opposition or favour for each postal code. The metrics were then weighted by 0 for neutral, 1 for somewhat in favour, -1 for somewhat opposed, 3 for strongly in favour and -3 for strongly opposed. Exhibit 1 shows that the results for the city were similar to the results when all responses were considered.

Exhibit 2: How do you feel about having a new casino in Toronto?

Exhibit 1: How do you feel about having a new casino in Toronto?

Exhibit 2 presents how the residents that took the survey responded in regards to having a new casino in Toronto, according to their home postal code. The map was generated using the postal code scores to generate citywide picture of the results. The darker the shade of red indicates that more residents strongly oppose the casino; the shades of yellow indicates a close split between residents that oppose and those in favour of a casino; and the darker the shade of green indicates that more residents are in favour of a casino. Exhibit 2 displays that throughout the entire city; most of the neighbourhoods are labelled with a red, orange or yellow shade. This indicates that the residents within most neighbourhoods are either split or more opposed to a casino. The overall counts within the entire city for each category are as follows: neutral or mixed feelings: 306, somewhat in favour: 438, somewhat opposed: 502, strongly in favour: 2066, and strongly opposed: 6442. There are small pockets in Scarborough and North York though, where there are more residents that favour a new casino. The largest section demarcated by dark green are found in north-Etobicoke, indicating that more residents are strongly in favour of the casino. Most of the downtown, and surrounding east and west communities are more opposed. These opposed neighbourhoods are also within the closest proximity to the two proposed downtown casino sites. These neighbourhoods were also identified within a previous MPI Insight as having the largest total populations and population growth within the city.

Exhibit 3: Top 5 neighbourhoods that strongly favour or oppose a new casino in Toronto

Exhibit 2: Top 5 neighbourhoods that strongly favour or oppose a new casino in Toronto

Exhibit 3 shows the five neighbourhoods (postal codes) that were found to be the most opposed and the most in favour of a casino. Overall, we found that there are more neighbourhoods that have a stronger opposition, than the amount of neighbourhoods with more in favour. As Exhibit 3 displays, the neighbourhoods in Toronto that strongly oppose the casino, hold a greater strength of opposition, than the neighbourhoods that are the most in favour, support the casino. The neighbourhood that was found to support the casino the most is the north-west Etobicoke neighbourhood of West Humber-Claireville. The other neighbourhoods within the top 5 most in favour of a casino are within edges of the city in the West and Scarborough. The neighbourhood that was found to be the most opposed to a casino is the Bloor St. West-Junction community. Every other neighbourhood within the top 5 most opposed was found to be downtown, or within a close proximity.

Public consultation plays an integral role in municipal decision making, which is why surveys such as the City of Toronto’s casino consultation is important. This Insight has focused on showing the divide within the city over this contentious issue. While only a few areas strongly support a casino, only the downtown is strongly opposed. As the overall results for the city show opposition, it is much more mixed outside of the downtown core.

For more information regarding the City of Toronto’s Casino Consultation process, please follow this link:

This is a revised version of the Insight posted on April 11, 2013. Additional information about respondents who did not provide a Toronto postal code was included, and the availability dates for the on-line survey were corrected. The original Insight is available here.

Download this Insight (PDF)

The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto‘s Rotman School of Management is the world’s leading think-tank on the role of sub-national factors — location, place and city-regions — in global economic prosperity. We take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.