Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gaming in the 21st Century

I don't think that it comes to a shock to anyone that Texas Hold 'Em, has become one of the most popular forms of gambling in 2007 and 2008. It wasn't until the poker craze began in 2005 after Chris Moneymaker (yes that's his real name) won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) that Canadian Casinos began offering this variation of five card poker.

Since the 2005 WSOP, tournament prize pools in main events have become the new, and often innovative way, to become North America's quickest and newest millionaire. I say innovative because the world of online gaming offers a chance to win close to 1 million dollars every Sunday for as little as 26 bucks. It's hard to turn the channels on television without seeing a poker game these days. Good for the Industry? Yes. Good for the poker enthusiast? Absolutely. Good for the gambler? Probably not.

I have heard the argument that poker isn't the same as putting money into a VLT since you aren't sitting in front of a video screen for hours and hours putting countless $20 bills inside and hoping to score big. Rather, poker is a social game where you sit around a table with friends, sometimes for hours, and risk as little as $5, $10 or $20 bucks in tournament style play. Is this really comparing apples to oranges or are they both the same?

It's no secret that our government has put out a call for any interested company that meets specific requirement to bid on the ability to build a Casino in New Brunswick. No tax dollars will be spent to assist in its development. The only thing you get from Government is the approval to build and the license to operate. Our province will be one of the last in Canada to allow legalized table games into it's jurisdiction and offer a responsible venue for those who wish to play in a controlled atmosphere.

If a province is going to allow gaming than it should offer a reliable form of entertainment for those who wish to "roll the dice" with their money in hopes of hitting the Jackpot. I am excited for this project knowing that our Government has kept the principles of responsible gaming in mind.

More to come on this topic, but in the meantime I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject. Thanks!



Rob said...

Other jurisdictions are often able to vote on whether or not a casino is established in their locale, why not New Brunswick? We already know that VLTs can and have ruined peoples lives, and we know that gambling can be addictive. Does the increased revenue to the government outweigh the societal effects of gambling?

Personally, I have no problem feeding a fiver into the video crack machine at the bar on a Friday night. I probably go to a casino every other year to lose $50playing blackjack (20? hit me, there's four aces in the deck). I just don't believe that this casino is going to be the tourism mecca it's been pitched as. I have a hard time believing that people will come from outside the province on a Wednesday afternoon in February to gamble. It will be local money flowing into the cashier's cage.

It also seems to be poor form to introduce gambling to the province with the lowest mathematical scores in the country. We should at least introduce extra statistics courses to high school before opening the casino, and give these students the skills they'll need to succeed at the craps table.

mikel said...

For a guy complaining to Dan F about 'busting your chops' you certainly thrust your jaw out there enough:)! (which is a good thing)

I think by ANY standards the 'principles of responsible gaming' are not ones that NB can claim to. I looked through the legislation and didn't see ONE piece of legislation introduced by this government dealing with gambling, and the history of the enterprise is somewhat spotty at best.

(Just an aside, people should at least be informed that Mr. Burke here has introduced far more legislation than anybody else in government-but thats it for the cheerleading)

We, unfortunately, don't know what those principles ARE. All that is admitted here is that taxpayers money won't be used, which doesn't really have anything to do with 'fair gambling'. In fact, one can argue that the government SHOULD own the facility.

IF it makes money, then all that money goes to the province. Second, its far more likely that those 'fair principles' are adhered to.

An article in the paper awhile ago pointed out that NB simply doesn't have the tourist capabilities that would lead to a single casino being profitable. In PEI, hotels are the places licensed for casino's, to ensure money comes from outside.

In Europe, people who live in towns with casino's are not permitted to gamble in local casino's, while in Switzerland, gamblers are given a bar card that ensures that they cannot gamble for longer than a continuous amount of time. In the states its been shown that simply telling operators to 'make sure people don't gamble too long' is completely ineffective.

So don't put the cart before the horse, Tim Smith pointed out that he couldn't even get the modest proposal of limiting sunday gambling to a few select hours into legislation, so whether there are 'fair principles of gambling' remains to be seen.

Here's an excellent article on gambling in NB:

Paul said...

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T.J. Burke said...

Nice blog Paul. Err, on winning elections by taking your advice - well, I guess that remains to be tested.


detailer said...

I am 57 years old. You people have no morals, refuse to take the pulse of the electoat and this has to be the worst government I have seen since Hatfield.I voted for you guys,but I now regret it. I was even thinking of joining the association again,but it won't be yours.When I hear someone say liberal,Bully, arrogant, deceitful, are among just a few words that come to mind.