Vancouver Sun writer David Baines hates gambling. We know this because he states as much in every single article he publishes for his tabloid. The least you can say about David is that he’s consistent. Trouble is, his other area of consistency is that every comment he makes regarding the gambling industry is flat out wrong.
Despite his stated disdain for all things gambling, there is one form of the dirty, evil practice that Baines supports; specifically, the government-run kind, which he views as infinitely superior in every way to that run by ‘rogue operators.’ To be clear, in Baines’ world, ‘rogue operators’ refers to international gambling companies that report at mandated intervals to arms-length regulatory bodies. This is an obviously inferior system than the one employed by those stalwart and upright government lottery corporations, whose homework is entirely checked by themselves. You remember that system from high school, correct? What? You don’t remember finishing your mid-term exam, handing it in to yourself, marking an A+ at the top in red magic marker, then posting it on the refrigerator door for your parents to admire? Clearly your teachers didn’t trust you as much as David Baines trusts those trusty government monopolies… like this trustworthy bunch, or this one.
Now Baines has noted with ‘some dismay’ the ‘public flap’ over the botched British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s launch of their online gambling site PlayNow. Seems David’s worldview was incompatible with the notion that BC’s citizens believed their provincial gaming body deserved to be wearing big red Bozo the Clown noses. As a result, Baines now seems intent on convincing the public that, sure, BCLC can’t be trusted to keep your financial data safe, but they’re still better than those ‘rogue’ international operators. It doesn’t matter that the BCLC launch demonstrated precisely the opposite. That’s the flag David’s chosen to defend, and he’s stuck the flagpole so deep into the ground — and his nose so far up BCLC’s ass — that he can’t pull either out without suffering severe physical damage.
For years, Baines worked overtime to demonize local technology companies affiliated with the online gambling industry. His words helped drive these companies – some of them, like those associated with the Bodog group, with 15-years of valuable experience – out of Vancouver, creating a void that could be then filled by a government-run monopoly. Baines’ publicly stated motive behind this crusade was to keep tax monies at home, despite the fact that his actions robbed the province of the tax revenues generated from the salaries of these employees. And in the end, BCLC ended up hiring foreigners to build their site (ineptly, as it turns out), because there was no one left locally that was capable of doing the job. Meanwhile, the individuals and companies who left Vancouver were eagerly accepted in London and other EU states that didn’t share Baines & Co.’s prejudicial worldview.
Baines’ inability to admit that his state-run darling has been a complete disaster is reminiscent of those older Russian citizens who still pine for the glory days of Communism, and who view the free enterprise system with suspicion and alarm. Give us one shade of grey, they cry, rather than this confusing multicolored rainbow. We don’t want to have to sort through the multiplicity of voices available over the internet – we want the safe, predictable, singular point of view we get from Pravda, the former newspaper/mouthpiece of the Communist Party.
David would have made a good editor of a BC edition of Pravda. For instance, he’d have reassured his readers that BCLC’s security breaches were a good thing, because good neighbors had little to fear from opening their hearts, homes (and wallets) to each other. David would have explained that the lousy odds being offered by BCLC were in every way superior to the smorgasbord of odds available from the international operators because math is hard, and anyway, not having to shop around saves time and energy. And David would have sworn to his readers that you could trust BCLC with your gambling dollars because, well, you don’t really have any other option, do you?