Mises Daily Articles
The Dreadful, Dreary, Boring World of Commie Casinos
In Canada, government-owned and run casinos made a mess of the true entertainment value created by casinos in a competitive free market. The government-owned casinos of Ontario claim to be the "peoples'" factors of production. But anyone with experience in real casinos can only see this as a pathetic joke.
I realized this on a recent visit to Niagara Falls, Canada. The town had two government-owned casinos, five minutes apart. The design of the casinos was the same with no theme and no real difference in games and services provided. The first casino is called the Niagara Casino, and the second is called the Niagara Fallsview Casino.
Many anti-capitalists argue that capitalism is only concerned about money and ignores things such as beauty and creativity. The truth of socialism is on display with these two casinos.
Compare to the grand capital of gambling, Las Vegas, and all the creative themes and architectural designs that have come forth. We have Venice, Manhattan, Paris, and a pyramid in the desert! This would simply be impossible in socialist Canada unless some politician decided a pyramid in the snow was a good way to get votes.
A policy so offensive resides in Niagara Falls' casinos that I shiver at the thought of it. Of course, I speak of the policy of no "free" alcoholic beverages. Free drinks in casinos is something that we have come to take for granted in our free-market-driven casino industry.
Many people go to casinos exclusively for the free drinks. But of course we can't have anything enjoyable in socialism. One beer is US$7. Furthermore, the classic cheap and delicious casino buffet was nowhere to be seen. The buffet had few choices, tasted like roasted nutria, and cost about US$12.
Another difference was that no special offers were given by the casino. Usually, casinos have crazy spectacular car giveaways or remote resort vacation trips to be won, but in Canada? No way.
Las Vegas casinos do not give great buffets, free drinks, and special prizes out of the goodness of their hearts. These offers come through the concern for their own bank accounts and the competition with other casinos. The commie casino designed for the people of Ontario is worse for the customers than casinos based on profit.
These casinos are almost doll house images of real casinos. This can be most seen at the Texas Hold 'Em Poker tables at which I had the pleasure of waiting an hour and a half before being permitted to play. There are ten tables, seven dealers, and four people managing the waiting list.
An inefficiency such as this would never go on long in a real casino. What is the purpose of the four managers when all the casino needs is dealers?! Is there even a need for one manager of the waiting list? God forbid that the commie casino would do anything that might be efficient and profit maximizing.
With no shareholders to answer to and no real competition, there is no incentive to get more dealers instead of waiting-list managers. The bloated staff of Canada's commie casinos is typical of the kind of patronage schemes that infect all government enterprises. The end result is me waiting for ninety minutes, during which time the casino is making no money from me.
To add salt to the wound, the casinos actually changed their dealers regularly, like a competitive casino. This is normally done to ensure that there is less cheating going on. A question then for my socialist Canadian commie friends: What is the point of preventing cheating when you've already hired four waiting-list managers? You've already cheated yourself for whatever their salary may be!
Ludwig von Mises pointed out the flaws of government-run non-profit organizations by saying, "In the absence of profit and loss the entrepreneurs would not know what the most urgent needs of the consumers are. If some entrepreneurs were to guess it, they would lack the means to adjust production accordingly."
The government-run casinos have fake entrepreneurs that cannot adjust their production through dealers and effective management to match the demand of customers. They only make guesses at the number of customers that may possibly come into the casino. This is exactly what Mises is speaking about when he says of such quasi-markets, "They want people to play market as children play war, railroad, or school. They do not comprehend how such childish play differs from the real thing it tries to imitate."
No citizen of Canada can effectively push the casinos into efficiency. Since citizens cannot sell their "stock" in the casinos, there is no one to push for higher profits and greater efficiency. No person is in the position to lose their entire fortune. No person is investing into the company for their children's college education or for their retirement. This means no person is in a position to push for profit maximization.
So play it safe and please avoid Canada's commie casinos.