Titillating with crime, casinos and corruption

The Toronto Star’s war on casinos has gone far beyond silly. It makes you wish you were old enough to remember if the Star fought as hard in the last century to keep the swings locked in Toronto’s parks on Sundays. It is hard to get used to the Toronto Star in such a regressive and foolish stance. Now they have the anti-casino faction evoking images of a supposedly corrupt and evil Macau to frighten Torontonians. It seems that when you have nothing else negative to say on the issue, you might as well lie.

Anti-casino Councillor Adam Vaughan has added his name to an opinion piece written by a Sandy Garossino entitled “Three of a kind: Crime, casinos and corruption. While the article seems to flirt with slander, it has editing scars that indicate some of the more scurrilous content has likely been exorcised. What is left is an ill-conceived, poorly-executed trash piece that would embarrass Toronto Sun editors.

To say that American gambling resort developers such as Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM and Wynne are involved in money laundering in Macau is an ignorant accusation. Any supposed wrongdoing in Macau is entirely a matter between the People’s Republic of China and its citizens. Many Chinese not only like to gamble but they are also very resourceful when heavy-handed rules by a totalitarian government need to be bent a bit.

To say that The Macau model is what casino operators would recommend for Toronto is ridiculous. The truth is that Macau only brought in the Las Vegas operators in the last ten years to attract gamblers from around the world with North American opulence and games such as blackjack and craps. The timing is such that the new emerging capitalism of China is creating the players who can afford to gamble there.

The American Macau casinos are very much like the Las Vegas model. Casinos dominate the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. With at least 40 per cent of revenues in the former Portuguese Colony derived from gambling, Macau is now a substantial money maker for the People’s Republic. If they know about corruption there, Councillor Vaughan and his co-writer should advise the Chinese authorities. Some American agencies might speculate on whether rules might be overlooked but speculation is not proof.

Toronto’s Executive Council will be discussing casinos at its meeting Monday or Tuesday. That committee will then determine if they wish to refer the question to the full council next month. It would certainly be a unique experience if people would just keep their comments to facts they know about. It would keep discussion very brief.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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