Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Much ado about nothing

There will be only a single post dedicated to the Tocchet Gambling Inquiry. Unlike some media chains in Canada and the United States, Moldy will not waste time chasing a non-story or non-event. There is simply no need to join the chorus of misinformation.

There isn't a single reason to blame the Gretzkys for their personal decisions. Neither Janet nor Wayne have done anything wrong. She likes to legally bet her money on sporting events. Wayne may have a line of credit at a Vegas casino. This is worthy of a story, why?

Professional sports - the NHL / NBA / NFL and MLB - have profited immensely off individuals legally betting on teams and games. Las Vegas has added another couple of billion a year and few thousand residents as a result. Fantasy Leagues and drafts have become common place among middle age men across North America. Yet, somehow gambling still shocks individuals.

Sport's leagues, like provincial governments, are addicted to the revenue but don't want to face the *ugly* side of gambling. Gambling problems are diseases and need the proper attention and resources to offer first rate treatments.

Wayne Gretzky is Canada's best athlete of all-time. He is the greatest hockey player ever to lace up skates - Don Cherry can have his Bobby Orr. He has committed himself completely to assisting Canadian hockey regain supremacy. What is the thanks that is returned to him?

Macleans - the new, edgy format masquerading as a supermarket tabloid with a hint of news - runs a full length story on Gretzky detailing his personal and business loses, his coaching struggles and now the "gambling issues." At least Ken Whyte can now try to drive a second Canadian publication into the ground.

Now, the point of this post. No charges will be laid on Janet Gretzky. There is no reason to believe that Global, CBC, the Toronto Star, ESPN or any other media outlet will issue an apology. It is par for the course in today's society where an individual is guilty until proven innocent.

This is a story for a couple of reasons but nothing that justifies the amount of scrutiny it's getting.

First, Wayne Gretzky has always been a class act and, as the old saying goes, we all love dirty laundry.

Second, Wayne is playing a very public role with the Canadian men's Olympic Hockey team.

Finally, Wayne doesn't have the same celebrity status in the US as he does here in Canada but he's certainly recognized because of his Olympic affiliation. Not to suggest our friends to the south are poor sports but it wouldn't disappoint them to see Wayne wear this one.

Gambling is usually only illegal when the government doesn't get it's "cut" (governments lovingly refer to gambling as voluntary taxation) so my threshold of forgiveness is fairly high.
I certainly had not seen that statement by the New Jersey authorities. It is a relief to read, even though I am no great Gretzky fan, I don't like our society to build people up just to tear them down.

I wonder if Gretzky hired a PR firm to help him with this issue. If he didn't, he should; if he did, he needs a better one because his message is not getting out.
Gretzky has been a great ambassador for sport and Canada. He has been a class act all his life. Should it be news that his wife likes to spend her money on legal activities.

The Olympics are about the athletes and sport not about a wife that may like to place a few bucks on the ponies.

The US media are hypocrites. Wayne isn't one of them and he didn't play their sports. Hello, Michael Jordan. He actually bets on everything. He probably wagers with his wife who will get up first in the morning.

The cloud of suspicion that hangs over Jordan is so thick. It is rumoured he was mandated by David Stern to play baseball for a year rather than suspend the NBA's best player.

The real tragedy with gambling is the damage it can inflict on families. Governments and communities need to do a better job of supporting individuals.
The even bigger non story is that the Gretzkys lost $2 Mil over a couple of years in Vegas. First, who cares. Second, that's like me losing $100 once a month playing poker with my friends. Gretzky is a multi-millionaire, what else do you do with all
that money.

too quick on the button
Governments and communities need to do a better job of supporting individuals.

Shaky, governments are the ones who win the most on lotteries... and community groups are often funded by lottery revenue. They have a strong interest in keeping gambling alive.

Individuals make the choice to gamble; no-one forces them. If gambling becomes a problem for an individual, all the resources of government won't make any difference whatsoever unless that individual makes the choice to deal with it.
fair & balanced

You have missed the point. True, individuals are responsible for their actions, however, if someone has a gambling problem, it is an addiction or disease. These individuals require assistance and and need treatment.

You seem to live in this world where nobody needs anybody and all folks fend for themselves. That is a great concept for reality television, but it doesn't work in the real world.

Governments need to assist people with chronic gambling problems. There needs to treatment centres and awareness innitatives. There needs to help lines with proper support services. Governments need to reinvest their revenue to support problem gamblers.

Community groups should be encouraged to construct outreach programs. What would be wrong with a AA type support group for gamblers? Nothing. These people need other humans to assist them.
Someone missed the point but it wasn't me... There is more kinds of caring than the socialist way. Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you'll deplete a precious resource?

All the resources of government at every level can't force a troubled individual to cease pernicious acts short of incarcerating them.

Please- show me a single case of an addict freed from his addiction against his will. It doesn't happen. As soon as a person starts taking responsibility for themselves, they opens doors that were locked before.

Yes, it's good to have resources available for addicts of all kinds but governments are notoriously inept at providing care, especially elitist governments convinced of their self-righteousness.
The addict needs to admit the problem, no question. However, you continue to miss the point that the government must support the citizens. It takes revenue from gamblers and should re-invest some in support programs and information.

It isn't a question of socialism or capitalism, it is question of responsible government.
I didn't miss your point; you missed mine. Looks like I'm going to have to spell it out to you.

You think gov'ts have an obligation to support citizens which is your definition of responsible gov't.

Although this might be difficult for you to understand, I don't share that belief. No, I'm not kidding.

Gov'ts are notoriously inept at delivering social programs. Gov't functionaries and bureaucrats seem to have a compulsion to build an empire of administration. They can push paper but that's about it. Their service delivery is abysmal.

Private groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (or in this case Gamblers Anonymous) have greater success in service delivery and run much more cost efficient organizations.

I don't misunderstand the nature of addiction. I don't lack compassion. I don't want to push society's problems onto an icefloe and set them adrift in the Arctic Ocean.

I want gov'ts to govern instead of trying to control every aspect of every citizen's life. I want social groups like AA to provide the social services.

I'm okay with the gov't using monies garnered from gambling to fund these groups. I believe the services social groups like AA provide are vital to the wellbeing of those citizens who need them.

Responsible gov't would recognize their inability to deliver these services and empower those who are able to do so effectively.
fair & balanced

I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
Sure! I don't mind disagreeing. It's the discussion that's important. How else can we both learn and grow if we don't at least consider each other's position? I'd rather chat to someone who I disagree with than someone who has no convictions.
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