Time to start mining children

Campbell Webster
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Video lottery terminal

Well, this really is terrific news. Video Lottery Terminals are now available at all locations in P.E.I. for a full seven days a week. Why this is so fantastic is that it now gives those people who are having their lives destroyed only six days of the week will now be able to be manipulated out of their money every single day of the week.

Or put another way, the hours available to collect this levy on despair has now been increased by roughly 15%. Hurray! (Or Hurray for all of us who are feeding off the people who the machines are feeding off.)

It really is a great and courageous move by the government. They recognize the seemingly inexhaustible resource the VLTs players provide, no doubt having seen their drab faces glued to the VLTs in places like Dooly’s all day long, every day (except Sunday.)

For it seems possible the government, and the owners of the bars who rake in revenue from these machines, have been wringing their hands at the prospect of getting these cash-cows fully milked on the Christian Sabbath, also.

Well, mission accomplished. Family day, face-the-music day, or consider your recovery day, has now been eliminated.

It also proves that P.E.I. does have a mining industry, and what we mine is misery. And what’s great about mining misery, is that the more you mine, the more you create. Prominent gambling author and addiction counsellor, John Lee, the editor of Choose Help, notes “... VLT gamers play for an analgesic escape. They play to forget about problems, anxieties or any other negative emotio — By contrast, action gamblers (those who play games such as poker or bet on sports) chase the thrill and excitement of the wager ... The lights and sounds of a VLT induces a trance-like state which increases the analgesic effect and the addiction.”

Yippee! This merely confirms what we already now anecdotally. For how many times have you glanced at a bank of VLTs suckling off the spiritual teats of their victims and exclaimed, “Well, that looks healthy! I think I’ll bring my kids here and do it with them!” Of course the answer is never. For these are the misery mines, and the government has just found our own version of the tar-sands for these mines: Sunday.

There are risks of course. The risks are that this inexhaustible appetite for cash is akin to a stupid virus, the kind that kills its hosts too quickly, thereby destroying its own source of life. And these misery mines, with their shafts being thoroughly rammed through their primary resources, people, may one day find they have destroyed their own food source. What then?

Maybe the answer is as simple as this: Now that we have expanded the number of days to mine misery, we need to create more misery in which to mine. Which means we have to lower the legal age players to five years old, and starting mining this great untapped and easily accessible resource of potential misery.

This has tremendous potential when you think about it, or as the Newfoundland legal authority on VLTs, Ches Crosbie, puts it, “VLTs are designed to be inherently deceptive, inherently addictive, and inherently dangerous when used as intended.”

And when you get right down to it, who is easier to deceive than a five-year old? (OK, maybe a four-year-old, but the Island may not be ready for that just yet. Maybe next year.)

Which is not to say this is  to advocate putting children back in the mines. It is actually the opposite idea, which is to put the mines in children.

Anyway, wonderful news all around. Our government has found a way to weave more social destruction throughout lives across the Island, and make money for all of us doing it. With a little more courage, and foresight, they can start extracting the lifeblood of children as well.

Go get ’em, boys.


Campbell Webster is a writer and producer of entertainment events. He can be reached at campbell@campbellwebster.ca

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Recent comments

  • nitpicker
    September 01, 2014 - 14:50

    It remains unclear to me what affect permitting access to VLTs on Sundays actually has. Lot's of hysterics, yet few facts. Show me the data, and I will gladly join the opposition, but for now, saying the problem gambler is helped by having Sunday VLT access restricted (keeping in mind online gambling, lotteries, bingoes, racing, are all readily available) is like saying the alcoholics will be aided by closing the liquor stores on Sunday. Speaking of booze, and knowing the Island also has a problem there, I note that alcohol is also available, on Sundays presumably, during Anne and Gilbert performances AND now at Timothy's Coffee Shop. That would make it the first coffee shop in town to sell liquor. Not that I have a problem with that, but hey...if you are going to get your knickers in a knot about VLTs on Sunday....

  • violet
    August 29, 2014 - 18:43

    Thank you for a great observation, Campbell, well said --- any one who cannot see the harm done here, must be deaf or blind, or willfully in denial. The Ghiz government is predatory, and we are accomplishes by having voting him in as the Premier, -- of course nobody could have foreseen that it would get this bad.

  • You do realize
    August 29, 2014 - 16:37

    ...that smokers will always find the means and a place to smoke...that drinkers will always find the means and a place to drink/purchase alcohol...and that druggies will always find the means and a provider of their drug of choice. That gamblers now have an extra day in the week to gamble really changes nothing.

  • Evidence
    August 29, 2014 - 12:11

    Can you please produce some evidence to show that NOT using a religious day as an excuse to restrict access to these VLTs will actually increase any problems? I for one am growing very tired of these knee jerk reactions to every single thing that happens on this Island.

    • SO SAD
      August 30, 2014 - 06:17

      Evidence give your head a shake. Do you want to lower the drinking age to 15.