Toronto Star doesn’t know diddley.

Got up a bit late the other morning and found the wife grumbling over her coffee and the Toronto Star. She had read an editorial that annoyed her. Her complaint—on which she was quite voluble—was about the Star’s new stand on a casino at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. Since she has always been in favour of having a full blown casino resort operation at that location, her complaint needed explanation. It turned out her complaint was about how little the writer knew about the subject.

Her first complaint was that the Star editorial writer suggested that blackjack and roulette tables could be added to Woodbine’s slots operation and it would be a full fledged casino. She considered that an insult to her and her fellow craps players. She does not consider a casino to be legitimate without at least one full-size craps table and a crew of at least four to keep it running smoothly. She is a purist: after trying the one-sided craps tables with their single croupier at the Casino de Montrèal, she has never been interested in going back to that casino.

But there is a strong possibility that her real complaint was the foolish suggestion in the Star that the casino at Woodbine should only operate 18-hours per day. The writer had the audacity to suggest that the casino close between 4 am and 10 am. That proves it: the writer is not knowledgeable and has probably never been to a casino in his or her life.

This is the kind of thinking that has hamstrung Atlantic City and cost it big in becoming a gambling destination. The wife and yours truly were once simultaneously ejected from an Atlantic City casino at 4 am. We had never been told that the casinos in that town closed every night. We were outraged. We were both on a roll. The wife was leading the riot at the craps tables and we were racking up some major loot at blackjack. And you never, ever interrupt a gambler on a roll. Atlantic City is also off the list.

And we could be dealing with similar problems in Ontario. We have newspaper editorial writers and politicians in this province ignorant about gambling and thinking they should make the rules. Few people really understand gambling. Not everybody wants to go to casinos. Yet they want to say ‘no’ to casinos for others. They say they are worried about people becoming addicted to gambling. Our society has far more serious problems with alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Ignorant politicians who think they are protecting people from gambling addiction by saying ‘No’ to casinos are helping criminal elements to take gamblers’ money. Society can deal more easily with addictions that are out in the open. It is those that hide in back alleys that threaten us.

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