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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Casino would bring more social problems

Casino would bring more social problems

Times Colonist
JULY 12, 2016
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Re: “Victoria picked for second casino site,” July 9.
So Victoria’s mayor and city council favour cramming 300 to 400 slot machines into the Crystal Garden in an attempt to generate some revenue for the city.
Apparently, the fact that the Crystal Garden is a heritage building with a conservatory-style glass roof and walls and is a registered national historical site makes it a great candidate for slot machines, gaming tables and bingo rooms.
Apparently, tourists from around the world will look forward to playing the slots and stamping a few bingo cards after a tour of Victoria’s heritage neighbourhood and Old Town.
Gambling does not improve peoples’ lives. It is well documented that casinos increase problem gambling and associated harms such as bankruptcies, divorce and suicides. Downtown Victoria is already struggling with significant social problems. Do we really need to add a gambling facility to the mix?
Further, the B.C. government has created a joint gaming investigative team to reduce organized crime involvement in illegal gaming and to prevent criminals from using gaming facilities to launder the proceeds of crime.
It is estimated a casino might generate $1.8 million to $2.5 million in annual revenue for the city. This will not come close to covering the costs of addressing the social harms caused by gambling and the additional policing and governmental monitoring that will be necessary to keep organized crime out of the game.
I shudder to think what our civic leaders will think of next.
Bruce Porter
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