Monday, August 08, 2005

Sheep shearing

Ontario's Thousand Islands Casino shears more sheep each year than most wool farms.

This is a mighty mystery.

Follow the signs near Gananoque, and you arrive at what appears to be a failed Wal-Mart or Loblaws in a field. Inside this eyesore box is more security--and less fun--than most airports.

An Unsmiling Uniformed Greeter will decide if you should be allowed in. If she suspects you are under 50, you will be shepherded into a second line-up to produce two pieces of identification for a Large Uniformed Bald Guy. Prove you are 18. People obviously in their 30s and 40s were digging in their wallets when I was there. Or having their cameras confiscated.

Are we having fun yet?

Beyond the doors is an area smaller than a Canadian Tire store, filled with slot machines. It is patrolled by Large Uniformed Security People. A few random table games are under the yawning control of Uniformed Croupiers. You will notice there is much less sound than in a Vegas or Atlantic Casino. No yelling, no laughter. Are we having fun yet?

At the far end of the hall is an entry to the Grill. It is more brightly lit than the casino or most high school cafeterias. Here you will order your overpriced beer and a bump. Do try the Virgin Baah shooter. Thanks to Ontario's arcane liquor laws, drinking and gambling may never be mixed. No cocktails for high rollers.

But then, you can buy beer, wine and booze at many rural groceries. The province insists all city folk buy their drinks from lazy LCBO stores, conveniently located wherever the MPP of the government of the day insisted there be one.

In short, here is a sullen, imitation casino for sheep. It is a sad, insulting imitation of the real thing, where sheep are stripped of their money with Great Joy and Delight.

Ontario is politically correct so it is a "charity casino." The charity of course, is the Ontario government which thanks to your participation, can ignore good causes they really don't give a darn about. You have bought them The Freedom from Guilt.

Aren't you taxed enough? Casinos are a tax on the stupid. Why would you give them a cent? If you are wise, you will just take a nice snapshot of the large rock in parking lot C2. And leave. Shaking your head.

Is it more humiliating to work at the Thousand Islands Charity Casino Penitentiary? Or to actually spend a dime there as a customer? Discuss.


twagta said...

I used to go down to Atlantic City just around the time they were building those big monstrousities near the boardwalk. Late seventies I guess.
The real monopoly town. Except for the boardwalk it was one of America's most depressing places. I imagine it's a little like Niagra Falls of today.

If I was a gambler I'd play the ponys. Actually, I might do that next week.

I know you had a question but I forgot what it was...oh well.


John Cosway said...

Right on, Dunf. Talk about a cash cow. The casino in Gananoque is nothing but a cattle barn focused on milking you for your moo-la. No class. No reason to return for a second visit.

MouseMeat said...

Eli Wallach said it best in The Magnificant Seven:
"If God hadn't meant for them to be sheared, He wouldn't have made them sheep.". :-)

Ottawa Watch said...

I went by many times while that joint was being built and wondered what it was and who could possibly want to go there, but any time I've been by, even first thing on Sunday morning, the parking lot is full of chumps' cars.
Some friends of mine and I were driving near Orillia in the middle of a summer night a few years back, and whiled away time trying to come up with the sleeziest legal rip-off scam we could think of. We settled on this one: open up a car lot near Casino Rama. Offer losers 20% of the Red Book value of their cars and a bonus bus ticket back to Toronto in return for their signed-over ownerships. We stopped at a gas station near Brechin and ran the idea past the kid behind the counter. Then we got the bad news: someone's already doing it.

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