And the Star thinks OLG is hypocritical!

If Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Corporation is hypocritical about a casino in Toronto, what do you call the Toronto Star’s position? Will the Toronto Star state categorically that it will never accept advertising from OLG or any of its casinos or lotteries? Provincial affairs writer Martin Regg Cohn drew the line in the sand the other day for the Star editors by stating that OLG wants to create a moral stain on Toronto.

What claptrap! For a corporation in the business of disseminating news, opinion and advertising, the Toronto Star needs a good shrink. If the Star thinks it will decide the moral issues for Torontonians while maintaining credibility as an impartial disseminator of the day’s news, it needs counselling.

What the Star editors do not seem to realize is that it is legal to buy lottery tickets or go to a gambling casino in Ontario.  For Cohn to insinuate that there is something insidious about OLG encouraging Ontario citizens to gamble at its facilities is quite ridiculous. He says that the request to locate a casino on the Toronto Lakeshore is using location to legitimatize gambling. Would Mr. Cohn be surprised to learn that gambling has already been legitimatized? No matter where the Toronto area casino venture is located, it will be legitimate. And, if the casino venture is planned properly, it can be very successful.

Mr. Cohn is also appalled that OLG would use loyalty programs to endear itself to its gambling customers. Was he not aware that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario uses a loyalty program called ‘Air Miles’ to encourage drinkers to purchase more alcoholic products? Why, even Highway 407 uses a loyalty program to encourage the electronic toll road users to drive on it more often. What is Mr. Cohn’s problem?

Mr. Cohn says that these loyalty programs are insidious. He believes that alcohol drinkers drink more, Highway 407 drivers drive more and gamblers gamble more because of the temptations of free rewards and give-backs.

Maybe Mr. Cohn has been on the political beat too long. He should broaden his horizons.

But, in the interests of full disclosure, we did admit in a recent blog entry that we had an excellent dinner at Casino Rama, early in May, courtesy of that casino’s loyalty program. The evening continued with a spectacular sound and light show by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, courtesy of the casino’s loyalty program. We capped the evening by winning a few dollars at the craps table. This additional largess was not courtesy of the loyalty program. It was more the result of understanding the odds of the game and knowing when to take your chips to the cashier.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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