By REYHAN ENVER
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is taking a gamble and adopting more gaming facilities and services, but Ontarians aren’t embracing the idea.
The plan is to start modernizing gambling by making lottery tickets available online and at store checkouts such as Wal-Mart and Costco within the next five years. In addition, underperforming gaming facilities will be closed or relocated and a new casino will be built in the Toronto area.
Three racetrack slot operations are being shut down — those in Fort Erie, Windsor and Sarnia — which will result in 560 people being out of work. And, if the government doesn’t continue to share the slot revenue with the horse industry, it will go out of business, resulting in the loss of 60,000 jobs.
Gambling has become big business in Ontario. Making the accessibility of lottery tickets even easier will not help those who struggle with an addiction to gambling. According to a survey from Gambling Watch, six per cent of the total population will most likely have a gambling problem within their lifetime. Once gambling becomes an addiction, it can ruin someone’s life and that of their family’s.
By making it so easy to buy lottery tickets when you are shopping for food or surfing the web, it, in turn, makes it easier to become addicted.
According to Statistics Canada, a household with a $20,000 income already spends an average of $395 on gambling, while those with incomes of $80,000 or more spend $555.
They also say gambling becomes a problem when someone can’t control how much he or she spends. A casino’s “high roller” area can cost as much as $500 for one play on a slot machine.
Money disappears very quickly when gambling without the gambler even realizing it. The Ontario government should not be making it easier for people to lose their shirts.