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On the recent proliferation of gambling in Canada

20 Jun

In the late 90s and early 2000s, I began to observe an increase in various forms of gambling in Canada; particularly in western Canada, there were more casinos and video lottery terminals in bars.

In recent years, I have observed the same kind of video lottery terminals in several bars in Atlantic Canada; thus far, Ontario has resisted them.

But casinos have spread greatly in Ontario in recent years, outside of some of the more obvious locations (some big cities, many native reserves), into small communities, as well. In the last couple of years or so, one even opened up in my small hometown, which surprised the heck out of me, as I didn’t see my area as the kind of place that would go in for them.

I am not altogether opposed to gambling, per se; I don’t believe it is outright condemned in and of itself in Scripture (yes, the casting of lots for Christ’s garments is depicted as the wicked thing that it certainly was, but not because of the gaming so much as the humiliation of an innocent man who is also God; after all, casting lots is shown in Scripture in general as a tool for decision-making, much like flipping a coin).

But as with other activities that are not wrong necessarily in moderation, but in excess are problematic (e.g. people enjoying some drinks at the pub or at home after work is one thing; people getting shit-faced, blackout-drunk, and puking on the streets like we see today in the U.K. in contrast to the healthier drinking culture of yesteryear is quite another), so too with gambling. A bit here and there, a few national and regional lotteries, a few casinos, a few horsetracks with betting, etc., no big deal for society; only for a handful of people with self-control issues. But video lottery terminals and casinos increasingly everywhere, that’s worrisome. We can expect to see more and more gambling addictions arising, the numbers increasing exponentially, the more gambling proliferates.

What is bringing this about?

Well, frankly, at the end of the day, I think it’s just greedy governments, greedy for increased tax revenues, and/or finding an easy way to boost tourism (and no doubt some corrupt officials on the take, in the pockets of would-be casino owners) – and business owners, esp. bars which play host to video lottery terminals, all too happy to go along with it, because they sell more drinks the longer people sit in the bar and play. I don’t blame business owners for wanting to maximize their profits nor not wanting to lose out to the competition down the street if they host such terminals, but I do blame governments for allowing / promoting such.

As for why the public enthusiastically embraces them, hey, it’s a thrill, and the lure of easy money for nothing is too much for many to resist. (Not me; I think I lack the gambling gene or whatever; I don’t even play lottery tickets, though I will enter occasionally contests to win a trip, or some charity 50:50 draws occasionally, but I don’t bet or go to casinos or the like, just because I have different interests, same as I’m not especially interested in sports, particularly. This of course doesn’t mean I’m better than others; just that my temptations / vices / weaknesses / preferred recreational activities happen to lie elsewhere.) And no doubt in hard times, it becomes even more of an escape, and something into which people place their hopes, rather than in God.

Anyway, just something I’ve noticed, of late; or rather, I’ve been noticing it over the last generation, but with recent increased rates of proliferation of gambling forms, I couldn’t help but be struck by it, and find myself contemplating it more.

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12 responses to “On the recent proliferation of gambling in Canada

  1. feeriker

    June 20, 2017 at 8:18 am

    The novelty of the casino eventually wears off, at which point the gaming industry struggles just like any other in bad times. Here in Arizona, where there is at least one Native reservation in all but one of our counties, each with a casino, there is an all-out advertising campaignn underway to draw in new crowds of palefaced suckers to part with more of their money for the remote chance to win paltry jackpots. It’s not working, based on the almost desperate tone of the ads. Fifteen, 20, 25 years ago when they first appeared, reservation casinos were a big deal that drew record crowds. Now the glitter is gone and nobody has the money to waste.

    Vegas is the real barometer of where the gaming industry now stands. Just a decade ago it was a vacationer’s paradise, with cheap (almost giveaway) food and entertainment subsidized by gambling revenues. Today the place rivals Monaco for its exhorbitant prices for everything and is left wondering why no one loves it anymore.

     
    • Will S.

      June 20, 2017 at 8:21 am

      I suppose that’s the silver lining, the marketplace will sort it out, in time…

       
  2. electricangel

    June 20, 2017 at 8:22 am

    The something-for-nothing mentality takes over a people and soon you’ve got gambling everywhere. The rot is later to Canada, but there it is.

    I recently read about compulsive gamblers wearing adult diapers so they don’t have to leave their slot machines. Frankly, if they all go bankrupt it will be too soon.

     
    • Will S.

      June 20, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Hear, hear!

      Agree completely. I have heard that same disgusting account, too.

       
  3. Kevin

    June 20, 2017 at 8:29 am

    ” I began to observe an increase in various forms of gambling in Canada; particularly in western Canada, …”

    Just an observation. I recently moved to the West Coast from Ontario and have seen the same thing. However, it seems to be heavily influenced by the large Asian population, at least here in Vancouver.

    Going through a mall you’ll see an area set up with about10-20 chairs in front of a lottery kiosk with a video playing of winning numbers. The seats will be have filled with older Asian men and women.

    In Ontario I noticed the casino bus was filled again with older Asian women of to spend the day.

    I don’t disagree with the problems gambling can couse. I wonder how much of one it is in Asian cultures, or is it just kept to low level recreation?

     
    • Will S.

      June 20, 2017 at 8:50 am

      It’s true, gambling is a big thing among Chinese; long has been…

       
  4. jb

    June 23, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    The loss of religious influence in government is certainly a big part of the gambling explosion. Multiculturalism has a part, too. In order to see the negative effects that things like gambling, prostitution, and drug use have on a community you first have to see yourself as a community, and want that community to prosper in the future. As well as community pride and sense of decency. Nobody really sees these multicultural mini-empires as real communities, and the traditional population understands it has no future.

     
  5. Gerry T. Neal

    June 24, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Part of the problem is that people are doing it all wrong. Here is a crash course on the basics:

     

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