I am dismayed to learn of Mayor Fred Haynes’ proposal to establish a casino in Saanich.
While a casino will bring in jobs and revenue to the municipality and provide entertainment for people, it comes with a cost. There are financial strains, especially to compulsive gamblers, to the point where bankruptcy and domestic violence may occur.
Casinos tilt their operations so that “the house always wins.” Also casinos can often have some ties with a criminal element although not necessarily with organized crime. So the question is who is going to take responsibility for the social ills created by the gaming industry?
The municipal council and residents will need to carefully weigh the benefits of an improved financial outcome against the harm done to people’s mental health, work performance, families and the community.
In my view, casinos should not be the route to be taken. Rather council should be seeking out alternative, more positive approaches, such as providing incentives for businesses to locate in Saanich and grow.