Backwoods attitudes

Dear sir:
This letter is being written in response to the editorial in the April 14th edition of the Fort Frances Times and to add to the comments made in the letter to the editor, entitled “Profit and Gain,” in last week’s Times.
Although the letter that appeared last week had many good ideas, I feel a few vital points were not made. Also, as I am a senior citizen, I may lend a different view to the topics discussed or just express my own take on the matter.
A casino in Fort Frances would, by itself, create hundreds of jobs at the said establishment—apart from any spin-off employment created as mentioned in the previous letter. Think of the property taxes that would be assumed from the largest commercial building in town sitting on the largest piece of developed land outside of the mill.
Other taxes could be levied on such an establishment, such as lodging tax, entertainment tax, and a meal tax—all at the local level. The spin-offs would benefit all businesses as the town becomes a destination instead of a pass-through point for tourists who are now going to other destinations.
It is time that we look to be the first in people’s minds as a destination in Ontario instead of 31st as it is now. Our restrictive public views and attitudes need a fresh new look with real substance. Flags, flowers, and signs are beautiful, and people like to see such niceties, but what would make them stop?
One only has to drive by our many new sports facilities, especially on weekends, to see that the parking lots are full of cars and buses from out of town attending tournaments, meets, and games of all sorts. The concrete additions to our town in recent years have attracted many out-of-towners here to attend these functions and spend their money in our local stores, hotels, motels, and restaurants.
This past weekend was a good example, when we saw the soccer fields full of people watching a tournament. The previous weekend, the pool was filled with out-of-town swimmers. The local gymnastics club also had a meet that same weekend.
The families of all of those athletes spent money in this town.
A casino could only add to the reasons for people to come to stay in our town. Those same people are going to casinos now—just not in our town.
My wife and I have frequented, over the last several years, most of the casinos in Minnesota. We have witnessed hundreds of busloads of people from many states and provinces pulling up to the doors.
Many of the people getting out of those buses are seniors, just like us. They are there to have a good time gambling, to watch good entertainment, stay in excellent accommodations, and dine on suburb food—all for a very reasonable price.
The main goal of these places is to show patrons a very enjoyable experience. The cost of this form of recreation, socializing, and fun brings us back again and again—and not because we are addicted to gambling.
The bus tour companies that offer casino trips often include a day of shopping at local shops and stores, away from the casino. This only adds to the business created by a casino in a town.
People who go to casinos usually are couples (husbands and wives). They often go as a group to have a good time. We have never witnessed any of them drunk, whether on the bus or at the casino.
Drinking at a casino is not a big-ticket item, but it is there. People have more fun playing and don’t have time to drink in any amount.
On the contrary, wait staff constantly are offering free tea, coffee, soft drinks, or water. At most establishments, you cannot have a beverage with alcohol while gambling.
As for the addictive side of gambling, I have many, many friends and acquaintances who go to casinos to gamble, and none of them are chronically addicted or even mildly addicted to gambling.
We all go for the same reason—to have a good time doing something we enjoy and can afford. If the bus gets cancelled next month, oh well, maybe next time.
What I am saying is I hope those addiction therapists aren’t waiting for me, or anyone like me, to make a counselling appointment because they will be broke waiting for us—long before we catch the addiction.
With a new mayor and council sitting for our town and a new CAO, maybe it is time to assume a fresh new outlook on how our town does its business, and how it goes out after new business.
In the past, we have shunned expanded gambling facilities in this town while allowing more Bingo and pull tabs to be played. Lottery ticket sales are as popular as ever.
Casino gambling could benefit our whole town from service clubs, churches, and sports organizations to stores, restaurants, and sleeping establishments. A charity casino would only benefit every taxpayer.
Maybe it is time we re-evaluated our position on this matter. It is not against the law nor is it immoral to gamble. I believe it is time this town join the progressive thinking of the 21st century and leave our old, outdated backwoods attitudes behind.
This is but a few positive thoughts on the subject of gambling in Fort Frances. I would hope this letter will encourage others to offer input on this subject and add their thoughts to a very much-needed increased tax base this town is now overlooking.
Bill Krukoski
P.S. To Mayor Dan and council: how about an update for the citizens of the Town of Fort Frances re an overpass at the tracks on McIrvine Road.