Thursday, February 23, 2006

Casino Wars and Gambling Advertising

What is going on at Great Canadian Casinos? They own and operate the Riverrock Casino as well as at least four others in BC as well as the Hastings Race Track. The Reuters report fourth quarter earnings are down and their stock dropped 20%. Now the COO has resigned with no publicly stated reason. How can one imagine casinos dropping earnings?

Is it possible that Casino wars have started because there are just too many now in BC? Apparently the Langley Casino is affecting the Cloverdale casino and siphoning off some customers. If you think you are seeing a lot of ads on TV, radio and your local papers now, get ready we predict the ads will increase even more so. The Casino Corporations are trying to entice anyone and everyone into their casinos using all possible means.

Peter Warren on radio CKNW this past week had a guest on talking about a story that Casinos that are now trying to get seniors into their poker tournaments. Locally in Langley we have noticed large expensive colorful newspaper ads displaying smiling senior aged males standing beside nubile Casino Showgirls. (I haven’t seen Casino Showgirls in Our casino have you?) Seniors are a major market for the gaming industry and their advertising focus clearly shows it. We at LFP hope the senior’s keep smiling after they drop their pension money at the casinos.

The sad thing is that the Governments, Provincially and Municipally, obviously won’t be very eager to study, discuss or ever think of chastising or limiting the Casinos on what many may consider their excessive advertising and marketing tactics because they equally want to skim their lucrative piece of the cash pie. Year round large scale Casino advertising in the newspapers especially in the local community newspapers probably now rivals and exceeds the local municipal government advertising. With annual guaranteed big advertising revenues it makes it more difficult for these paper’s publishers and editors to do anything to risk turning off the advertising revenues tap similar to suggestions that angering governing local municipal governments can also result in reductions of advertisements. For instance the Langley Times is reported to have advertising Revenues of more than $150,000 annually from Langley Township alone. We wonder how much the Casino ads provide annually? If they lost the Casino or municipal advertising how much of an effect would it have on them?

Gambling used to be considered a harmful vice just as alcohol and cigarettes still are. See the Las Vegas Review-Journal article linked. There are legal limits and restraints on advertising of cigarettes and alcohol. Why are there no limits on gambling advertisements? Gambling is still a vice last time I looked and can be just as harmful if not more so than the other vices. It can be argued that seniors today and children tomorrow can be harmed by the gambling advertising of glamour, sex appeal and dreams of riches and winnings. The only disclaimer they have anywhere on their ads including on their website is a small innocuous reference to “Know your limit, play within it.” Have you seen the mandatory graphics disclaimer of rotting teeth on cigarette packs? If governments won’t curtail gambling ads maybe their ads should be forced to show something similar like the collection agencies putting a pad lock on your homes door with an evicted sign! By the way I personally love to play blackjack. What do you think?

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