Recently, many have been asking just why a slot barn is being proposed for the entrance of Squamish. Good question.
It started years back when Gordon Campbell’s Provincial Liberals needed some fast cash after countless economically crippling decisions. So they did what any questionable organization would do, they aggressively increased gambling revenue. Apart from unavoidable plasma screens, internet gambling, and millions of tax dollars spent on advertising, (while gambling support groups closed due to lack of funding) they also began the digital slot barn boom.
It is no secret that BC Lottery has wanted to tap Squamish’s keg for a long time yet our community and council repeatedly said, “No thank you, we have enough problems”. Recently however BC Lottery came with an ultimatum: (I’m paraphrasing the in-camera conversation) If you don’t take it, Squamish Nation will and you’ll lose all control and funds.
So what is a penniless district to do? Either way we’re getting the problems slot machines bring, yet in one scenario we’ll have a revenue stream to offset the astronomical social costs. Otherwise we get all the problems and none of the benefits. Our Mayor and Council chose the very expensive high road.
They say ‘nothing is free’ and that goes double for gambling revenue. Sure the money is sweet but it’s not an exaggeration that every gambling dollar spent costs taxpayers $1.50 to help the families destroyed.
It’s also important to recognize that the proposed project isn’t a casino. There are no card games where the gambler traditionally has a chance. No, here there will mostly be video slots that have recently been coming under fire for their questionable practices.
Personally, slot machines depress me. I know cards are fun, but the first time I saw those rows of pasty people on slots I was shocked. Some patrons were throwing pensions into three machines at once. Then when chatting up the staff they told me that next door sells thousands of diapers so people don’t have to leave the machines. Then the staff had to go check the parking lot for infants in cars and disperse the ‘casino kids’ who wait outside while their inheritance is drained under bright lights.
Now, it’s not a done deal, but since our council chose problems without profits we have to start thinking ‘outside the slot’ and I say we go whole hog! Muni hall should get a numbers racket going to bet on when/who will be the first of the inevitable. The first to lose their house, the first to hit the bottle, the first hit their spouse, and of course what would a new gaming centre be without the first gambling suicide. Since it’s inevitable the moment those doors open, we may as well have the proceeds go to our hospital, woman’s centre, and RCMP so we can add it to the countless other taxpayer dollars that will be spent cleaning up the mess.+--------------------------+
*IMPORTANT INFO* Next Friday ‘Slow Ride on 99’ details CLICK HERE!