Mayor John Tory tells “anti-fin police” to back off of Toronto’s senior card gaming clubs.
When you’re having a great time, there’s nothing worse than a fun-sucker. You know the types – people who come
along for no better purpose than to ruin your good time. A similar
situation has been going on for more than a month in Toronto,
Ontario, and it’s got more than the local seniors upset.
This week, Toronto Mayor John Tory stepped in, berating local authorities for their fun-sucking ways. He’s demanding recreations officers back-off on community drop-ins, where the city’s senior population gathers for low-cost games of bridge, euchre and other popular pastimes. Tory knows full well these officers don’t answer to him, but he’s hoping his words will at least result in leniency during the province’s ongoing investigation into ‘illegal gambling‘ at senior centres.
“Illegal Gambling” at Seniors Card Gaming
For weeks, tensions have been high over an ‘Urgent Notice‘
that appeared on the front doors of a Scarborough drop-in in late
June. The notice, posted by the Parks, Forestry and Recreation
Division (PFR), informed community centre staff and members that “no exchange of money will be allowed”, effective
July 2, 2019.
While the notices were targeting the Scarborough area at first, it
was clear that the entire city of Toronto was about to have its
drop-ins under watch for illegal gambling. All this because the
elderly members of these clubs were paying a measly $1.25 to
participate in their favorite card games, with the winner receiving a
fair share of the prize pool.
No, no! said PFR. By Ontario law, this constitutes unauthorized
gambling! At first, the seniors were told no money whatsoever could
be exchanged, which would destroy their pastime altogether. Then PFR
decided to inform them that they could continue paying for money, but
no more than $0.25 per player to buy in.
The reaction was one of outrage, turned to grave disappointment, as
these games are, quite literally, the only thing drawing our aging
neighbors out of their homes and into a social setting. Even with the
reduced quart-games, the number of people showing up was barely 25%
of the previous turnout.
Tory Tells “Anti-Fun Police” to Leave ’em Alone!
In response to public outcry, Mayor Tory is imploring the city’s
staff responsible for investigating the matter to back off. At the
least, he is requesting that the max buy-in be restored to the $1.25
these players are accustomed to while the investigation runs its
Tory is asking the “anti-fun police” to stand down and let Toronto seniors have their fun. They’re not out spending their pensions on slot machines. They’re getting out of their homes, away from their televisions, and into a social setting where a small amount of change buys a perfectly innocent evening of entertainment among friends, with the chance to win a very exciting pot of… a couple dollars.
Where’s the harm?
“I am sure if there is any danger of Las Vegas-style gambling
breaking out en masse in our community centres we will know about
it,” quipped a sarcastic Mayor Tory in retaliation to the seemingly
guerrilla-style tactics of PFR.
Tory believes the department should have far more pressing matters to
contend with than a few innocent seniors trying to enjoy an evening
at Toronto’s card gaming clubs. The Mayor personally apologized for
the hardships the city’s seniors have suffered over the last 5 weeks
due to these flippant accusations.
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