Can’t Ontario Whigs live off the vigorish?

It looks like the New Democratic Party in Ontario is going to force Dalton McGuinty’s Whigs to tax people earning over $500,000 per year. And here we thought the Whigs had solved the province’s financial problems by finally promising a decent casino in Toronto. They can expect far more revenue from the vigorish at their casinos than the nickels and dimes they will get from people making vulgarly high incomes.

Vigorish, or ‘the vig,’ as it is often called in gambling circles, is the margin the casino keeps from the actual payoff to gamblers and the real odds. It is this vigorish that really challenges gamblers when they try to beat the house. It is the tightness of the vigorish in Craps, for example, that attracts gamblers because, if they know the odds, it is the fairest game in the casino. Yet the casino can still pay for the staff the game needs by milking the Craps players who lose on the high vigorish mid-table propositions.

It is like all the variations accompanying Blackjack today. For example, by betting on getting a ‘Perfect Pair’ on your first two cards, you are betting that you will have a mixed pair (the same value but of a red and black suit) and the casino will pay you six to one on your bet. They will pay you 12 to one for a pair the same color and 25 to one for a pair of the same suit. It does not speak well for the quality of mathematical teaching in Ontario that people cannot quickly see that the casino is keeping a great deal of their money if they go along with that foolish a bet.

Mind you David Olive of the Toronto Star tells us that casinos are a no-growth business. He tells us that casino habitués are middle-aged and old. He does not approve of casinos. That is why we are gathering at the Toronto Star building in Toronto tomorrow to trip him with our canes and run over him with our walkers. He is obviously much to busy pontificating about them to go to casinos, so he does not go and that is his right. He needs to recognize our rights.

He is worried, for some reason, that we seniors are a stagnant population and it means that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) casinos will have to try to steal business from each other. We only wish. The OLG monopoly, like any other monopoly, has damn little concern for its customers and the most concern for its bottom line. Just look at Bell Canada. That is one hell of a role model for casinos!

David Olive, and the Toronto Star, seem worried that the OLG may have finally tapped out the market. He should talk to MGM about that. Now that is a business that knows what it is doing. It builds wonderful casino resorts that put Ontario’s pathetic lottery and gaming people to shame. MGM might not pay quite as much vigorish to the provincial coffers but it would certainly show the politicians what real casinos are all about.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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