Letter to the Editor published in the Victoria Times Colonist, 13 October 2000
Kudos to city councilor David McLean for upholding Victoria’s prohibition on slot machines (“Victoria reconsiders slot prohibition,” TC, Oct. 13).
Gambling is a losing game.
It amounts to a tax on lower-income people who dream of security and success in a world that denies it to them. Casinos, lotteries, and similar money-making schemes take in more money than they pay out. They wouldn’t exist otherwise. They provide false hope to the hopeless.
To add slot machines to Victoria’s casino would only redistribute greater wealth from those who have little.
The $400,000 the city makes from the casino annually is dirty money, generated from the insecurities of citizens. Victoria should get out of the gambling business entirely.
Indeed, municipal governments need increased funds to provide for the housing, transportation, and cultural needs of their residents. But these funds cannot be solicited from the poorest and most vulnerable.
The solution to the city’s financial woes rests in the creative taxation of those businesses and individuals who can afford it. Despite loud pleas for “tax cuts,” progressive taxation remains an effective and just mechanism of social and economic equality.
Will the casino merely pack up and move to the Western Communities? Not if the residents of those areas make their voices heard and join in the call for a moratorium on all forms of gambling in the capital region.