Ontario sucks and blows on gaming.

When it comes to gaming, the Wynne government in Ontario definitely sucks! According to a confusing op-ed in the Toronto Star Monday by former McGuinty cabinet member Michael Bryant, he reports that the Liberals are sucking and blowing at the same time. Yet when you get to the end of his piece, you find that Bryant is promoting his current business in addiction.

That puts Bryant in conflict with his subject. How do you sell addiction solutions without a ready supply of addicts? Frankly, the Ontario government is doing a lousy job of creating gaming addicts. Gaming in Ontario is badly run, unevenly available and definitely lower class. Other than thoroughbred racing with its patina of style and class, people tend to look down their noses at gambling and the addicts it creates.

In desperation with the flattening revenues of gaming for the province, the Wynne Liberals floated the suggestion recently that Bell Canada and Rogers might take over the lottery business for the province. If that did not scare hell out of the serious lottery player, nothing else will. Have you ever tried to communicate with those companies when they owe you money? Yet if you owe them, they will be on you like flies on a warm cow pad. These companies lack the friendly, unctuous vibes needed in the lottery business.

And obviously Ontario Lottery and Gaming has absolutely no understanding of distribution needs to serve the public in Ontario. Casino resorts in Ontario are a sad joke. While there was a tourism cover for the original casinos, it is the people of Ontario who are ill-served. To not have a casino in the Toronto area is paternalistic and stupid. If ignorant city councillors do not want a casino, they should get the money for transit from their ratepayers themselves.

What nobody seems to understand about gambling addictions is that there are many opportunities, both public and private, for the gambling addict to exercise their addiction. It is like the alcoholic who can always seem to find a drink or the drug addict finding a pusher. From the bingo games in church halls, friendly poker games in a neighbour’s rec room, to office pools, we gamble. It is human. Sometimes we get a harsh lesson and in the very occasional circumstance we can get a pleasant surprise. That is what gaming involves. It is a favourite form of entertainment. And it is fun.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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