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Casino can be a good thing for community

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  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 12:18 pm

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Re: “Casino a concern for resident,” Letter Dec. 31

Dear Editor,

In reply to Katherine Brandt’s concerns about a racetrack and casino coming to Balzac - I understand Katherine’s concerns entirely. I was taught growing up that gambling was a terrible thing and that it caused nothing but trouble but, in the last several years, my outlook on the subject has changed.

A few years ago, I was invited to join relatives for a ‘day out’ at the casino. I went with hesitation and was surprised to not only enjoy the company of my family, but also to enjoy a refreshment, a good meal in the restaurant, good music, happy people and a bit of laughter and fun trying our luck at a few of the slot machines.

Since that time, I’ve come to view going to a casino for a few hours as no different than spending a bit of time and money going to a movie, sharing a meal out with friends, a day of golf or skiing, or many other activities that we all do with pleasure in our spare time.

We all work hard for our money and there’s no harm in relaxing and enjoying playing a few games. Consider how much we encourage our children to play video games. Many of the casino games are fashioned on the same themes these days.

There’s no doubt that if an individual has a gambling addiction and is endangering them and their families, there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, like any other addiction.

On the other hand, the majority of people gamble responsibly, know their limits, enjoy the entertainment value of a day out, and can take pleasure in knowing that a portion of their proceeds go to support a vast number of charity and sports groups throughout the province.

As a member of the Airdrie Rotary Club and a volunteer with the 55+ Games a few years ago, I’ve also volunteered several times at casinos. The fundraising value given back to the charities that volunteer is instrumental in giving back to our society, and the waiting list to host a casino is now out to once every three years. Many of our community groups have been able to achieve their goals with the proceeds from their efforts.

I agree with Katherine that gambling can be a problem for some and may require a degree of caution, but I’ve also come to respect that times have changed too. A day at the casino might not be everyone’s choice, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that people are being irresponsible. Most of them are responsible adults like you and I, who are just enjoying a day out with family and friends.

Bev Chinnery, Airdrie


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