Friday, July 20, 2007

Feeling Lucky?

Toronto's cash shortfall - which apparently no one saw coming even though it has been headed for us like a transport truck on a deserted highway - apparently has no contingency plan in case the proposed tax hikes didn't go through, which it didn't.

Nothing like having a Plan A and no thought of a Plan B, C, or D. All I can say is if you put all your eggs in one basket, you better make sure you have all the votes you need to get it passed.

So now various people are floating the idea of a downtown Toronto casino - the last refuge of the desperate, in more ways than one.

Casinos are essentially a tax on the stupid. I've been to Vegas and gambled pocket change, but you look around and know that the big shiny buildings and free drinks are being paid for by a whole bunch of suckers losing pretty reliably. Fun to watch - not so much fun to lose.

Canadian casinos are even worse - being sad, joyless affairs that suck money out of busloads of seniors. Like Vegas run by Canada Post.

Being Canada, casinos are guaranteed to not be fun, because we only believe that people should enjoy one vice at a time. You can gamble, but not drink. If you want to smoke, you can go outside. At least in Vegas you can indulge all your vices simultaneously, and even discover a few new ones.

Of course, studies show that casinos bring little economic benefit to the area. People show up, lose money and leave. They don't shop, eat or pump any money into the local economy. The only people who get rich is the provincial government, which takes 95% of the profit. That's why the mafia liked it so much.

And aside from low-paying dealer jobs, casinos don't create wealth. They don't produce anything. They are "entertainment". They just take money from some people and give it to the government.

For Toronto to agree to a casino the Province would have to agree to split the take with it. Not going to happen. For the record, the mayor has said he doesn't like casinos, at least not any more than he liked "support out troops" stickers on public vehicles, but we know that too is subject to change.