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Re-release- Great Canadian bombshell on the increase of slot machines in Coquitlam
  Jul 17, 2004

A random survey of 500 respondents in the City of Coquitlam between September 6-12, 2003, as this relates to increased gaming, specifically an application by The Great Canadian Casino organization to increase the number of ‘slot machines’ at their present location in Coquitlam, British Columbia by 350, and to increase their floor space to accommodate entertainment for patrons. This survey has a plus or minus error rate of 2.5%, 19 times out of 20, with a competency of 99%

Question #1
In your opinion should Coquitlam City Counsel allow an increase in the number of slot machines by 350 at the Great Canadian Casino on United Boulevard?
Yes    44 %
No    56 %
Question #2
In your opinion is gambling addictive?
Yes    76 %
No    24 %
Question #3
Mayor John Kingsbury states that no-one forces people to go to casino’s to gamble. In your opinion is this a reasonable and sensible perspective for your Mayor to have?
Yes    63 %
No    37 %
Question #4
A Coquitlam civic leader indicated that he/she could care less about public opinion as this relates to an application before Coquitlam City Council to increase slot machines at the Great Canadian Casino on United Boulevard in Coquitlam. In your opinion is this a reasonable and sensible perspective for an elected official to have?
Yes    08 %
No    92 %
Question #5
In your opinion, in any circumstance where a gambling addiction has caused financial ruin should the families of the addicted gambler(s) have the right to sue those parties responsible for the onset of the addition?
Yes    46 %
No    54 %
Commentary
Coquitlam City Council may be set to pass an application to allow an increase in slot machines for The Great Canadian Casino in Coquitlam, however the majority of its citizens are not in agreement with such action. Those “Against” are firmer in their position than are the people “For” the application.
Question #2 confirms why Coquitlam residents feel the way they do. Tax collection by way of gambling revenues is socially retrogressive. Many residents; particularly women, and older Coquitlam citizens are worried about the proliferation of gambling in their city and feel gambling can bring individuals and families to financial ruin.
Gambling is addictive, and most of the respondents in this survey who do not believe that it is, also support the application for more slot machines. This means that approximately one out of four residents (25%) who believe gambling to be addictive, also agree with the application for an increase in slot machines.
Although people agree with and understand Mayor John Kingsbury’s comments for the most part, they don’t believe that in and of itself his rationale is sufficient ‘cause’ for him to pass the motion for the increases. In question #4 Coquitlam respondents are angry and offended that any civic leader would disregard their opinion on such important matters.
Coquitlam residents understand the city requires more revenue, and they do not want higher taxes. Nevertheless they are concerned with the potential for the social degradation of the City notwithstanding The Great Canadian Casino’s efforts to build attractive and clean facilities, and their best efforts to be socially responsible.
Respondents in this survey are split in their opinion on liability issues relating to gambling addiction. Coquitlam City Council must ensure that they have properly worked through all of the implications of approving an increase in slot machines and gambling in the city generally before they proceed. Before approving any license for expansion, suitable revenues need to be set aside for social programs which can assist with ameliorating the social problems which often follow the proliferation of gaming in any community.
To do any less, puts the City and City Council in a potential position of exposure for lawsuits and even class action lawsuits associated with this gambling addiction, which could result in legal Judgements which rival the potential gambling windfalls the City hopes to secure with the increase in gaming.

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