Oh Craps!

As a citizen of Canada, I should be waving the Maple Leaf but aesthetically I prefer the Stars and Stripes. In fact, there are a lot of things I prefer about the USA. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beauty of the Canadian landscape and I appreciate Ontario’s health care, which has improved dramatically for me since turning 65, as well as the gorgeous women of Winnipeg. But…
I love the patriotism shown by Americans, the school spirit instilled in students from a very young age and the NFL. Their Canuck counterparts are general apathy and crappy football. And the American Rockies, the Grand Canyon and the National Parks in Utah boast scenery second to none.
I think the governments on both sides of the border suck ― each has its own brand of dirty politics ― but because I have been watching the local politicians change policies, causing job losses by the thousands and shoveling money into the fire by the billions, I tend to dislike our Canadian version more. The arrogance of those in power is unfreakingbelievable!
For example, the Provincial government decided seemingly overnight and without notice to close down the slot operations at racetracks, negating the $1.1 billion per year the racinos have been paying into the Liberal coffers. What once was a partnership is now called a “subsidy” by the government. The jobs of up to 60,000 direct and indirect horse and agriculture industry workers are in jeopardy. This while GM is about to close another plant in Oshawa and cut 2,000 workers loose. And the list goes on. I have already lost 20% of my income due to cutbacks in race days at Woodbine racetrack, a world class operation and one of the top three in North America.

Woodbine Racetrack

Woodbine Racetrack from the Press Box

The province apparently wants to build 19 more destination casinos like the three they already have, two in Niagara Falls and one in Windsor, which lose about $500,000 a year! It makes me want to throw up.

Fallsview Casino - Niagara Falls, ON

Fallsview Casino – Niagara Falls, ON

Auntie M and I have always preferred to gamble in American casinos and used to make several trips each year to Vegas plus frequent hops over the border to Seneca Casino. We were treated like kings, whether we were at MGM properties on the strip or at the native-owned casino in Niagara Falls, New York. In fact, the Seneca buffet is awesome! I can always find something I like even though my junk food tastes make me very fussy and hard to please.

Seneca Casino - Niagara Falls, NY

Seneca Casino – Niagara Falls, NY

Just FYI…we stopped living (going to casinos was the fun part of our lives) when we started a business, and in hindsight, we should have stuck with gambling. We were good at that. But the memories burn bright. The point I’m trying to make is that Canadian casinos take every advantage, giving as little as possible back to their customers. In the States we always had free rooms, free food, free parking and free shows. It didn’t matter whether we won or lost, as long as we played. You have to beg for comps in Ontario. No free alcoholic beverages, either. I rarely drink when I play, but when I do, the Mirage has the best Margaritas around.

Aunty M & He-Who in Vegas

Aunty M & He-Who in Vegas

Another place I fell in love with was Reno and its Peppermill Hotel and Casino. We spend a week at a convention there and naturally I spent my evenings at the tables. When I arrived on the casino floor the SECOND day I was greeted by name and smiles by several dealers! In Canada you’d only get that from the pit boss, sans smile, if at all.
The main reason I hate playing over here, however, is because the local casinos have machines that are continuously shuffling the cards. I don’t mind a shuffle master that uses six or even eight decks which have to be replaced in the machine to be mixed. I’d rather see the dealer getting a break and shuffling the cards him/herself. And in Vegas, I prefer to play single or double deck Black Jack which is unheard of in the great white north. If I’m losing at cards, I like to take my action to the craps table. BUT YOU CAN’T FIND A CRAPS TABLE IN NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO!!!!! (scream it out ala Sam Kinison) except on weekends at the downsized Casino Niagara and rarely is there more than one open (if it’s open) at the Falls View.
It’s an all ‘round better experience in the USA. Just saying.