Why We DONT Need a Casino
Proposé par TQa, mardi 28 juin 2005 à 12:01 :: GAMBLING (english) :: #628 :: rss
Once someone at Loto-Quebec said that they were aware that there was potential to create problems if a casino were too easily accessible so they would build it on Ile Notre Dame. At the same time they also promised that they would not compete with the hotel industry. I forgive them. Campaign promises don’t count. Teen-agers will promise anything as long as they get what they want and you are willing to forget their promise. But now it is time to face reality.
The only reason that Montreal Casino has lasted this many years is because they have managed to addict a significant number of local residents from Montreal and perhaps a fifty-mile radius. Tourists come to Montreal in the summer for the Grande Prix, various festivals and just as a holiday destination. While here they may decide to visit the casino. That being the case they will go whether it’s on the island or in the city. But people simply do not come to Montreal exclusively for the casino. If they live anywhere exc ept Utah or Hawaii they can find a casino within a very short distance from home. The marketing people at Loto-Quebec do their research, and they do it well. Moving the casino to the Peel Basin will put it in easy reach of Montrealers who work downtown. What used to be called a "liquid lunch hour" will become a choice of lunch or gambling. Problem gambling experts know that gambling when you are under time limitations is hazardous. There is a vast difference between planning to go to the casino on Ile Notre Dame on a certain day after work or dropping in to one near your office for a "few minutes" on the way home. Montreal Casino will never be a threat to casinos in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Those are truly tourist destinations and must be competitive because of the number of casinos to choose from. Montreal Casino offers little, by comparison, in the way of perks because they have a monopoly. Even Niagara Falls, where I attended a conference in April 2004, relies heavily on local gamblers and gamblers from the Toronto area eight months of the year. Casinos are never of benefit to anyone except the operators. The odds are so heavy, in favour of the house, that although you can win, in the long run only the house wins. So Loto-Quebec wants to attract victims from out of town, as if their lives don’t count. If, in the process, a few lives are destroyed among our own, that’s just part of the cost of doing business.
Some of us remember about a year or two ago the reaction of the Chinese community because one businessman in Chinatown wanted to put some VLTs in his place of business. The effect on the people, who live and work in the area by exposing them to this activity, might have made them dependent on these machines. Now, if Loto-Quebec has their way, it will be a short jaunt from Chinatown to the Peel Basin. Economic Development Minister Claude Bechard says there will be no automatic green light for the $1.2-billion project to build a new casino. "We should look at all the aspects, all the consequences," he added." But who will do the study? Who will fund the study? Who will be sure that the consultant that does the study produces favourable results? Score 10 if you answered, "Loto-Quebec" to those three questions. Politicians use industry-funded misinformation to justify gambling expansion. M. Cousineau stated he intends to consult with all concerned parties and would be prepared to implement the appropriate preventive measures. Thus far, I have not found M. Cousineau to be accessible and I have found my efforts to peacefully conclude a class-action lawsuit against Loto-Quebec on behalf of victims of Video Lottery Terminals, declined. His predecessor, Gaetan Frigon, did meet with myself and my associate long enough to be obnoxious, rude and unsympathetic to the suggestions I had brought forth for discussion that may have resulted in appropriate measures being taken. Measures such as enforcement o f the minimum age law to enter casinos, self-banning programs that are effective, and staff training for problem gambling awareness. If Loto-Quebec and M. Cousineau truly have social conscience, they will stay where they are and close between 4:00 A.M. and 10:00 A.M. to give the victims half a chance at saving themselves. Enough of the stories about gamblers whose family have no idea what happened to them as they disappear for days and weeks on end. The large majority of players found in the casino between those early morning hours do not appear to be entertaining themselves. More often they are chasing their losses.
-by Sol Boxenbaum, president and CEO of Viva Consulting Family Life Inc. and member of EmJEU coalition.
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