“No facts, please. I’ve made up my mind.”

People must be bewildered by the ongoing arguments in Toronto about casinos. Between the news media, the local politicians and various citizens groups that are cropping up, less and less light is being shed on the issue. Having studied and written on the gambling scene for many years, we will also have to add our few cents.

First of all, there is a misconception that people in Toronto get a vote on this. Is there any reason why they should? The province has said that communities will not get a casino if they do not want one. That leaves the decision to city council. Do you think that a casino on the north side of Steeles Avenue, and therefore in Markham or Vaughn, will not allow Toronto residents to enter their premises? A vote on where a casino can locate in Toronto would be a waste of time and money.

And what right does anybody have to say whether there can or cannot be casinos. Do the bluestockings of Toronto run the city? For your information, casinos are legal in Ontario. That issue was settled years ago when politicians found out about the profits to be made on legalized gambling.

One indication that a person has no idea what they are talking about on this issue is when they tell you that casinos attract crime. That is a ridiculous statement. Some of the most dangerous places around Toronto today are the industrial malls and banquet halls where people are running illegal casino type games. These are magnets for card sharks, thieves and other criminals. If the police do not know where they are located, how can they protect the players from the criminals?

There is also the claim that casinos destroy the neighbouring area. This seems to be based on conditions in Atlantic City when it became a gambling centre. The casinos in that city were dropped into the midst of one of the most tawdry towns in North America. If anything, the casinos have returned some self respect to Atlantic City.

The last resort of the meddler in this question is to claim that casinos create problem gamblers. Well, they do, in a way. They create problem gamblers in the same way bars create drunks. There are millions of people in the Greater Toronto Area. There are some that should not drink and some that should not gamble. What has to be realized is that bars do not want to serve drunks and casinos do not want to cater to problem gamblers. Problem gamblers are bad for casino business. Casinos thrive on repeat business by people who gamble sensibly and have fun in their establishment.

Gamblers just need to realize that it is a mathematical certainty that two out of every three times they go to a casino, they will lose money. If this were not the case, the casinos would not be in business.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

 

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