Here’s an outside-the-box idea: how about trading in every last VLT in the land for a single casino in St. John’s.
There seem to be loads of high rollers in Town with disposable cash.
Just count the million-dollar homes, the Corvettes drag racing on the Outer Ring Road, and the cruise ships squeezing wallets through the Narrows.
It would be a shame not to offer the rich and famous an outlet to vent their excesses.
So get rid of the VLTs in all the nooks and crannies, where problem gamblers aren’t so easy to spot. Or help.
And go with a casino in St. John’s like other big-boy cities.
•••Forget the rich and famous, mention the VLT debate — whether or not to eliminate video lottery terminals outright — and people say they should have the right to choose.
The same way they can choose to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.
They don’t want government to make decisions for them.
Pro-choice in every way.
Besides, each of the Maritime provinces has a casino. Nova Scotia has two.
It was only last month that a new $90-million operation opened in Moncton.
The New Brunswick government didn’t spend a dime, but it will get half the profit.
Only a casino wouldn’t make as money as VLTs.
NL makes $75 million a year from the machines.
In comparison, New Brunswick expects to generate $25 million in revenue from Casino New Brunswick in its first year, while Nova Scotia's two casinos in Halifax and Sydney brought in a combined $31 million last year.
Is there any merit in a trade-off?