It’s no secret that the biggest startup to have an exit from Israel was a company from the gaming industry. Playtech’s success, however sketchy online gaming might be in some countries like the United States, or in the grey area of Canada, has led to an infusion of funding capital where angel investors invest in whatever enterprises they see fit. Also –- it is time to set a new agenda, where proceeds that come from this online and offline activity should benefit minorities everywhere.
While gambling or the nicer term for it “gaming” is illegal in countries like Israel, other countries like the United States thanks to Las Vegas have made it a national past-time. Those who have big stakes in the casino industry in the United States like Sheldon Adelson would like to see it that he has no other competition from the online industry. Online casinos while not legal to operate in Canada can be used by people at their own discretion. A popular one is http://betsafe.com/ca/. I personally feel that if you are going to so something unsmart like gambling away your money, it’s better to do it away from the alcohol and drug infused industries like the one Vegas emulates.
Stimulates local economies
Canada, and some states in the United States, have developed a decent model for our gambling vices. In Canada in a town called Orillia, the country has allowed for a large casino to operate. It provides a massive number of jobs for the locals – such as electrician jobs, server industry, cooks, hotels and cleaners. Proceeds from the casino also serve the minority population of First Nations people.
Like vegas, Casino Rama has an entertainment complex where visitors can go and see big name bands for a fraction of the cost of larger bandstands. Low cost drinks and ample parking make it a date night destination for locals north of the Big Smoke – or Toronto as it’s known locally.
Casino Rama has had more than $5.2 billion in gross revenues, and profits of about $500 million, since it opened in 1996. About 500 of Casino Rama’s 3,000 employees are aboriginal, making it the largest single-site employer of First Nations in the country. The corporation is owned by the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation who oversees it. The First Nations groups of which there are many all over the province now split about 35% of the income from the casino.
This money buys computers for kids, builds fire stations and recreation centers. Much more than the bare necessities for these distressed communities. The funding allows them to thrive.
Thinking about sustainable cities
Actually since the success of Casino Rama emerged a number of other casinos have opened not far from the region, causing ire from the original as uncontracted jobs are being lost.
The mayor of the local town though says that the knock on effect of the casinos have benefitted his town in other ways -– by the opening of shops and the creation of new neighborhoods.
In so many ways though –– how do we measure success of a city though? Job creation and commercial advancements? New voices are emerging in the sustainable sector that have shown how bike lanes, parks and other investments are just as meaningful for a community as shops opening up. After all is that how we want to spend our free time and our pursuit of happiness?