Friday, August 28, 2015

38. Gambling as a National Policy

As of my last count, there are thirty-five casinos in the Philippines of which twelve are outside Metro Manila. Three more are under construction, and other gambling licenses being peddled around in coffee shops and law offices by this government's power brokers. I have not counted the ubiquitous E-Games kiosks that offer electronic slot machines catering to the middle-end crowd who have no access to the hotel and resort casino establishments. A check with wikipedia showed there are 102 E-Games, but I think there are more. I have also not counted the bingo places, which are found in the malls for the mass market gambling crowd. The real deal is the online casinos, which are like portals for all gamblers with a credit card and an internet-connected computer. Indeed, there appears to have been a remarkable increase in the number of gambling havens in this country under the current  administration. I can't help but ask, are there really that many gamblers in this country to sustain these establishments? They claim these casinos are for tourists, which is probably why they have one in Ilaya, Mandaluyong, in a hotel they call Madison Square Garden.  The casino appears to be intended as come on for tourists in Mandaluyong who may be led to think that they are staying in a hotel affiliated with the Madison Square Garden in New York. Seriously, I think the government gets it wrong when it looks at these gambling havens exclusively as money-making machines for charity. Fine, the house never loses, they make millions, but these gambling havens are not manufacturing money. They are taking it from people. The only way for these gambling havens to sustain themselves across time is to create and nurture a culture of gambling. They want people to make a good living and gamble it all away in an all night splurge on the gambling tables. In other words, the vision is to turn our kids into gamblers. I believe there is genius in the Filipino race. But like the genius, Niccolo Paganini, who enthralled the world as a violinst in his time and lost his fortune playing cards, our geniuses are going to be gamblers, and they will put everything to waste.  This is all because we had a President who made the growth of gambling a policy of his administration. To describe this administration as an idiot is such an understatement.

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