Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gambling, the NHL and the B.C. government

Bob Ritchie is a frequent e-mail correspondent and always interesting. He shared this thought.

"Paul, it is a taboo for sports stars in the U.S. to advertise on behalf of liquor or gambling organizations. President Obama is even calling for tougher regulations with teeth.
Our Canucks' sports hero Roberto Luongo placed his smiling face on a Pokerstars TV ad. Integrity at the lowest level. If his common sense and caring is at such a low point, get rid of the money crabbing bum.
Doesn't he realize that gambling addictions are tearing our society apart bit by bit?
The Vancouver sports writers seem to work within a circle of fear."

There's more on the NHL's ties with the online gambling industry here.

And, speaking of online gambling (and a certain sleazy dishonesty), B.C. Lotteries has been advertising the big 6/49 jackpot heavily this week. The ads have also promised a $5 credit for new gamblers who sign up for online betting through the lotteries' PlayNow Internet gambling portal.
There is something profoundly wrong when a government sets out to recruit new gamblers, especially in the most dangerous forms of betting - like online gambling, available to the desperate or drunk or ill around the clock. And especially when, in opposition, the Liberals were fierce about the need to halt gambling expansion because of the misery it caused. Instead, they introduced online betting, mini-casinos with VLTs in communities large and small and aggressive targets to recruit more gamblers and increase the average amount lost.
The PlayNow FAQ give a good sense of the government's real concern for problem gambling and addiction.

"Self-Exclusion
If I choose to exclude myself from PlayNow play, will I still be able to buy lottery products from a lottery store, enter a bingo hall or casino?
When you register, you must agree that BCLC may share your information amongst its various other business units, such as bingo halls or casinos. At this time, if you elect to self-exclude from PlayNow, BCLC is not yet able to automatically exclude you from its other gaming venues."

So, if you've lost way more than you can afford, can't control your compulsion and have decided to have yourself barred from Internet betting with the government, golly, they just can't figure out a way to let you also put your name on casino exclusion lists at the same time.
For a government that claims to be on the tech cutting edge, that is simply not credible.