Approximately 19,000 people are currently employed by Ontario‘s casino industry (J. Berkovitz, personal communication, January 6, 2010), and many more are employed by the province‘s more extensive, general gambling industry. The gambling industry‘s ability to create jobs in Ontario and other parts of Canada has received considerable attention and it seems to often be perceived as an especially important benefit that the industry provides.
For example, the CGA recently released an ―Economic Impact Study‖ boasting that Canada‘s gambling industry directly sustains over 135,000 full-time jobs nationwide, with nearly 50,000 of them in Ontario (Canadian Gaming Association, 2008). Such figures were subsequently relayed to the public through various newspaper stories about the report (e.g., Macleod, 2008; Wilson, 2008; Windsor Star, 2008).
A story in Victoria‘s Times Colonist, for example, was particularly enthusiastic about the report, headlining its article, ―Gambling Creates 16,400 Jobs in Province‖ (Wilson, 2008). It is easy to understand such enthusiasm when considering the need for new employment opportunities in many communities.
For instance, an article in Chatelaine magazine stated that when Sydney, Nova Scotia‘s casino opened in August 1995 it provided 300 well-paying jobs ―in a community where jobs of any sort are as rare as a royal flush‖ (Kimber, 1997, p. 41). Apparently, the official unemployment rate at the 13 time was 27% and nearly 5,000 people showed up for the casino‘s job fair (Kimber).
This isn‘t surprising: the casino is Windsor‘s third-largest employer, with 5,200 full-time and part-time workers. Most Casino Windsor employees are unionized and make good money, more than they would in the up-and-down automotive industry, which still dominates the regional economy. (p. 135)