Toronto’s Tacky-Town Casino.

Had a weekend of fun with friends in Toronto last weekend. The entertainment was varied, the food ranged from perfectly grilled steaks to the excellent buffet at Woodbine’s Favourites dining room to pizza and beer and just talking. The entertainment ranged from the circus atmosphere of Circ du Soleil to Woodbine’s last thoroughbred racing card of the year to a look at Woodbine’s new casino.

The Woodbine casino was a shock. The operator, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC), based in Burnaby, B.C., does not know Toronto and will long regret this cheap, insulting and foolhardy attempt at satisfying Toronto gamblers.

The one thing that occurred to me when Toronto Council went along with the Woodbine location was that it was the late Ken Thompson’s family that controlled Woodbine Entertainment and I hoped some of the class that man showed in life would pass on to his heirs. It did not.

This casino would be an embarrassment in the worst part of Las Vegas. Admittedly, these are temporary quarters under the old grandstand. They are building the new casino as fast as they can.

I hate multi-storied casinos. Like those in Atlantic City and Montreal, they seem tacky from day one. This temporary one is on three floors. In the basement, there are lots and lots of slots—frankly, a good place for them. Those gross table game machines that replace dealers are very much in evidence on floor two. The live table games—blackjack and all the variables were crowded and showed desperation. It was a mixed crowd ethnically but few looked like they could afford to play at a $25 table. They reminded me of the day-trippers who came to Las Vegas from Los Angeles by bus without hotel reservations.

The equipment on the gaming floor was cheap and the dealers looked exhausted but the surprise was to come. I recognized a floor supervisor formerly at Rama Casino and asked about the high rollers space. It turned out to be the third floor. The sign at the door said ‘No Admittance’ but we just said ‘hello’ to the guy at the door and marched in with the supervisor.

Have you ever seen silent discrimination? If there are a dozen or so tables for games preferred by ethnic Chinese and three for $100 blackjack, who do you think the room is for? And there were no craps tables anywhere. We were told that the operator did not like craps. It seems that craps is considered an American—and mainly black—game. If the wife ever meets the GCGC executive who holds those views she might kick him where it really hurts.

By the way, we only saw five players in the third-floor sanctum. One playing blackjack—badly—and the rest playing dollar slots.

Maybe this new Woodbine Casino only wants bad players who do not understand odds.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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