Welcome to small-town gaming?

The other day the Toronto Star ran an editorial supporting Toronto’s Woodbine Entertainment becoming a full-fledged casino. It also supported a strange request from Toronto Public Health to restrict the casino to operating only 18 hours per day. And this is supposed to promote responsible gaming?

This closing proposal is not only small minded but is silly. If you do not like gambling just say so. Nobody forces you to gamble. If you are worried about problem gamblers, the hours of operation are not going to be a factor.

Having gambled on the ponies at Woodbine for the past 50 years, we might know more than the board of health about problem gamblers. We also have the experience of many visits to Las Vegas and to casinos in many parts of the world.

The only time we ever saw a casino that closed was when the wife was on a remarkable roll at an Atlantic City craps table. Your writer was also doing very well at a nearby blackjack table. It took two very large armed guards to convince the wife to give up the dice and join us for an early breakfast. We have never returned to Atlantic City—too rinky-dink!

And neither Woodbine Entertainment nor Toronto deserves that description.

Of course, living as we do near the Ontario casino resort at Rama, we are no strangers to the dealers, craps crews and pit supervisors at that gaming centre. And that establishment certainly does not need to close.

Sweeping out the gamblers at three or four in the morning does not protect anyone from problem gambling. It is like calling “Time” in an English pub to send the working men home to their families. It is silly. It is an anachronism.

We have waited a long time for Toronto council to grow up and agree to allowing a full casino operation at Woodbine. It is an ideal site. It serves a large market in the Toronto area and will be a better draw for tourists. Becoming a casino in name as well as operations will create jobs and related entertainment operations in Toronto’s Rexdale area.

Woodbine Entertainment has been a responsible member of the Ontario racing community for as long as this Ontario resident can remember. It has earned our trust and our respect. Let it decide what is best for its operations

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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