Ken Swann (January 30, 2015)
After much talk and waiting weeks for it to be introduced the Province of Ontario has finally
launched its online gambling network through the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG)
which governs gambling here in Ontario. They plan to offer video slot games, blackjack,
baccarat, & roulette to the people who seek it and also the many who are addicted to it.
Gambling was never a real problem for me, in my teens and early twenties I used to shoot pool
for money after school or in the evening and on weekends. I always enjoyed it while I was
playing but I never thought I was addicted to it although it’s possible I was.
More recently within the last five years I have on occasion gone to the slots which are located
at a horse racing facility near the airport here in Toronto. To be honest I find it quite boring to
the point where I am usually looking around for the quickest way to lose my designated $50.00
for the night so I can go home.
But it’s not like that for everyone, some people go to the slots or a full service casino and they
don’t come out for days, these are the people who suffer from a gambling addiction. Just like
other addictions such as drugs or alcohol where people can’t stop using, with a gambler they
just can’t stop gambling, even when they’re losing their house or car or anything else they
might possess which has value.
A story featured November 5, 2014 by Christina Blizzard (The Toronto Sun) entitled “This is one
big mess in the making” opens with an old joke about not letting mafia run gambling because
the government doesn’t like the competition. Well, the government is moving into the
lucrative area of online gambling and will start a “preview” of an online program for select
Here’s what that means, the government is going to allow problem gamblers or ones suffering
from a gambling addiction a chance to lose even more of their money by gambling online. A
great way to gouge people who have a problem, don’t do the math, and who haven’t figured
out they can‘t beat the odds yet.
In its press release OLG said it will join British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, and the Atlantic
provinces in offering provincially regulated Internet gaming and “entertainment options”. The
government has figured out there’s a lot of money to be made out of this and they want their
chunk of the pie. The news release went on to say that approximately 500,000 Ontarians spend
an estimated $400 – $500 million annually on out-of-province gambling sites which are not
regulated in Ontario, which means that our gambling addicts simply checked into sites from
other provinces to fuel their addiction.
So now, with our government facing a massive $12-billion deficit the opportunity to fleece
people with an addiction problem in the comfort of their own homes is irresistible. Do we
really need to balance the books on the backs of the people who are suffering?
What are we to conclude from the implementation of online gambling? It would appear that
using our various addictions against us is a good way to make a lot of money. Whether its
money from gambling, or cigarettes, or alcohol, they always seem to be making money from
the things we are addicted to the most, somehow it just doesn’t seem right.