Tessa Jowell, like any avid gambler, feverishly hedged her bets with the House of Lords on Wednesday in efforts to push through her plans for a series of ‘supercasinos’ in Britain. Peers voted 123-120 against the measure that evening, despite Jowell’s last-ditch attempts at swaying on-the-fence Lords in her favour.
One wonders what sort of things Jowell was promising the Lords she was trying to influence — extra chips at the blackjack tables? A place of honour at the ribbon-cutting ceremony? Free vodka Red Bulls to help keep them alert when they decide to gamble into the wee hours of the morning with the rent money? Not likely.
That’s the thing about casinos, especially hastily-built mega ones with tacky neon lights and cheap floral carpeting – the rich won’t touch them with a ten-foot pole and the patrons end up being those least able to afford the luxury of casual betting as a night’s entertainment. Now, if the casinos could get something truly unique to Britain in there (a troupe of acrobatic lemurs, perhaps, or The Man Who Tried And Failed To Eat All The Pies), then maybe it would draw a more varied clientèle. As it is, the most exciting things you could most likely look forward to at one of these supercasinos is a bit of ice in your drink and a card dealer who doesn’t pick his nose when he thinks no one is looking.
Perhaps Londonist is too cynical, but our money isn’t on Jowell succeeding if she tries to go through the Lords again. She would do well to remember the golden rule of gambling: the House always wins.
Photo courtesy of aynne