Ashley Botting’s casino turn-on

For my money, a casino should be a place you have to seek out, not a place you can just stumble into. The question isn’t whether they should exist – people will forever need places to forget themselves. The issue is where to put them.

I speak as someone who finds it a turn-on to risk money tempting fate. I even have my own little roulette ritual when I find myself at casinos: I take $100 to the table and stay alive for 20 minutes by betting on colours and lines instead of squares.

Occasionally I toss a few chips on my lucky number 10. One in 38 times it pays off. When it does, I scream a bit, toss a fiver at the croupier like I know what I’m doing and cash the fuck out.

I’d drop $100 at Canada’s Wonderland easy, and for me gambling isn’t any different than riding the Leviathan – it’s the cost of a thrill. Problem gambling is the problem with gambling.

Casinos attract the entire spectrum of poor to rich who think three consecutive cherries is a quick fix. Even those people who know their limit can have a tough time when they’re at the table and the cards/dice/little white ball are promising that the next one will be the biggie.

People who want to bet can already bet. There are casinos a quick drive from downtown. I paid $10 for a bus from Chinatown to Casino Rama to see Hall & Oates. So I know you can easily get there. And the multi-billionaires can continue to charter their blimps or ride their dragons.

But if a casino is plopped at our feet in downtown Toronto, many a person will stumble in who ordinarily wouldn’t, and some of these will be addicted gamblers in waiting.

They’ll be lured by the flashing lights and the promise of riches, and give the little money they have to a business set up to take all of it. The poor aren’t the ones gambling for entertainment, and we all know it – let’s not tax them for the city’s benefit.

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