"A chimpanzee could come up with a better method.
To get $10 million a year, the city has to engage in mass pickpocketing
because the citizens have to spend $100 million to get $10 million."
~ councillor who voted against slots
SLOT MACHINE PICKPOCKETS
Slots approved for Vancouver
Grand Casino owner says he's a 'pretty happy camper' after slot machines OK'd
Susan Lazaruk, The Province Friday, January 23, 2004
Vancouver politicians - in a 1 a.m. 5-4 vote - approved a new casino that will offer slot machines for the first time in the city's history. The decision means Grand Casino and Royal Diamond can convert Exhibition Hall at the Plaza of Nations into a 70,000-square-foot, three-level casino housing 600 slot machines.
Gambling opponent Connie Fogal-Rankin called it a sad day for Vancouver, predicting expanded gambling. "It's a Pandora's box," she said. "All the money that usually goes into theatre, groceries, clothing stores, shoe stores, it's no longer going to go into our healthy industries because more people will be gambling." She pointed out that half of gambling revenues come from the five per cent of the society who are addicted and can least afford the money.
Mayor Larry Campbell said the decision will reduce casinos in Vancouver because two of the existing five are combining into one. An opinion poll commissioned by council and released last week found 60 per cent of Vancouverites surveyed opposed slots. But Campbell and others said 70 per cent of people, including representatives of 88 charities, who spoke at the council meeting were in favour of slots. "Polls to me are just that, a snapshot," said Campbell. "I tend to go with people who vote with their feet." A second proposal to allow slots at Hastings Park race track is expected this year.
'YES 'SIDE QUOTES:
Mayor Larry Campbell: "Because all the money is going to other communities and all the problems resulting from the gambling in the suburbs were coming back to Vancouver. I recognize that there is addiction that goes with gambling, but if you prohibit anything, it goes someplace else, it doesn't go away."
Coun. David Cadman: "The senior levels of governments cut funding and increase user fees and the municipalities have to deal with the consequences. We don't have the resources and as of April (when limits to welfare begin), more and more people are going to be in need of more social services."
Coun. Jim Green: "The $6 million to $13 million is going to go for social services that are badly needed by charities like the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre. I could not say I was going to take a moral stand [against] slots and say I have no news to help you in that community. I'm very proud of the decision, but it was very hard."
Coun. Raymond Louie: "It came down to the number of people who presented to us; two-thirds were in favour. They represent 88 charity organizations. The $10 million to $12 million represents a three-per-cent increase in taxes. We could do a lot with that money."
Coun. Tim Stevenson: "People's attitudes have changed a great deal in the past 10 years. Vancouver has been holding its finger in the dike by trying to hold off slots. We have 50,000 of our citizens going to other municipalities to gamble. We're losing that revenue and we're losing those jobs."
'NO' SIDE QUOTES:
Coun. Fred Bass: "The people who are most at risk are youth, people who have substance abuse and people with mental illness. It's a regressive tax, it's a tax on vulnerable people. It's bad economic development. If worthy charity organizations get more and more gambling dollars, they become addicted to gambling dollars . . ."
Coun. Peter Ladner: "I felt we would lose more than we would gain from it, and I didn't want to be part of continuing our increasing dependence on gambling to pay for social services. We have to take a stand at some point and find better ways that do not inflict damage on our communities and our families."
Coun. Tim Louis: "Gambling is one of the most inefficient forms of revenue collections. A chimpanzee could come up with a better method. To get $10 million a year, the city has to engage in a process of mass pickpocketing because the citizens have to spend $100 million to get $10 million."
Coun. Anne Roberts: "Gambling is a quick fix. It looks like it's easy money . . . but it isn't. The money locals spend on gambling is money that people aren't going to spend in restaurants, theatres or local stores. It may attract some tourism, but casinos are everywhere so I don't think they're going to be a big attraction."
THEY DIDN'T VOTE:
Coun. Sam Sullivan: Cited possible conflict of interest.
Coun. Ellen Woodsworth: On business trip to India.
Canadians leery of on-line gambling (government-run virtual casinos coming to add to VLTs (Video Lottery Terminals) - also known as "electric morphine"). Winnipeg Sun, Mar 7, 2005
Go to 24.The Lottery and CANADA HAVANADA SIMSADA
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