Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

The perils of gaming monopoly

  • Print

The expansion of Club Regent's concert hall will undoubtedly enhance the city's entertainment marketplace by adding a larger state-of-the-art facility that will draw a new range of performers.

It will also serve a multi-purpose role as a banquet, wedding and conference centre, bringing in revenue that is ultimately returned to the community.

The concern, however, is the new 1,400-seat venue will cut into the business provided by older facilities, particularly the Burton Cummings Theatre and Pantages Playhouse, both historic buildings that receive some taxpayer support.

Most of the acts at Club Regent and McPhillips Street Station are drawn from a North-American wide casino circuit, including retro groups like Paul Revere and the Raiders that wouldn't normally perform in other venues in the city.

It's impossible to say, then, how much business might be lost to the city's historic stages, but nor should it be a reason for blocking progress at the two casinos, which want to ensure their product is fresh and exciting for their clients, who include out-of-town guests.

The province and city, however, shouldn't forget they have a duty to support the community's cultural gems, which they have done, if unevenly, over the years. The Burt and Pantages aren't going to be torn down, so the public sector and community foundations have to accept their responsibility to ensure they succeed.

Manitoba Lotteries is understandably trying to maximize its business success, but there's the rub.

If the casinos were private enterprises, no one would question their zeal.

But because the government is the owner, operator and regulator of gambling, questions of fairness and transparency naturally arise.

The province may claim, for example, it is doing all it can do to control problem gambling, but would it demand more of a private operator?

It may say expanding Club Regent's concert capacity is good for everyone, even though everyone does not agree.

As long as the government insists on wearing multiple hats, it will be prone to allegations it is exploiting its position as a monopoly operator.

As with liquor, the province should consider whether everyone would be better off with private operators under government regulation.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 4, 2013 A10

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: 2014 Year in Review

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Canada goose protects her nest full of eggs Monday on campus at the University of Manitoba- Standup photo- Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

With the Canadian junior team off to such a great start, will you be watching the World junior hockey championship?

View Results

Ads by Google