Down the rabbit hole with Paul Godfrey.

Standing and chatting in the aisle between the Caribbean Poker and craps tables, we had looked around and asked, “What are we doing in this dreary place?”

“It’s just 20 minutes from home and you promised me a fancy dinner,” was the wife’s quick answer.

It turned out that the good steak place had a waiting list and we ended up with the second best restaurant at Rama. That was okay. Rama was treating. Luckily the casino does not just offer complimentary meals and entertainment to the big losers. The wife is a really tough craps player and the guys at the $5 table will always make room for her. She makes the game fun. And she knows how to play it.

Craps can be fun but my specialty is blackjack. This is a game where, if you understand the odds, take advantage of the opportunities, manage your money properly and know when to walk away, you not only enjoy the game but enjoy the profits it offers. Ontario Lottery and Gaming boss Paul Godfrey hardly needs us to help him produce $2 billion in profits each year for the Ontario government.

But Paul has fallen for the one lure that is the downfall of all gamblers: greed. He wants more. He wants to break into the Toronto market. He wants to serve the potential market better. He could, we suppose, if he could just do something about the myopic politicians who get in the way. It might also help to overcome the criminal elements that are running clandestine gambling places throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Paul also needs to pull his casinos out of the dark ages. Dark is not sexy in casinos. Dark is not only not sexy, it is eyestrain. Those places can afford proper lighting.

And Paul really needs to improve his employee relations. You get the distinct impression in dealing with employees at Rama that things are not that great. They seem fatalistic about how badly things are being run. The combination of the two organizations, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission and Ontario Lottery and Gaming trying to run these operations is ridiculous.

Paul Godfrey also needs to stop listening to local politicians posturing for votes and do his job properly. He obviously understands where local politicians are coming from. He was one.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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