Photo: Sean Fitz-Gerald

Oakham the loser on casinos

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By Shane Dingman

Gambling at Ryerson was all craps this year as Oakham House brought in $32,000 less than expected on charity casinos.

Oakham House has made money from roving charity casinos for many years. This year the projected windfall was $36,000. Instead only $4,000 was raised by casinos, just 11 per cent of the targeted revenue.

“It’s next to the worst case [scenario],” said John Fabrizio, RyeSAC general manager and Oakham House board member.

And now Oakham has to shit the door on gambling. As of March 30, the Ontario government is no longer allowing roving casinos.

“Realistically it’s not a huge concern because the concession and club sales have far exceeded the expected revenue of the house, and that’s going to offset the loss of casino revenue,” said David Steele, RyeSAC president-elect and Oakham board member.

However, Steele said, “It would have been great to have $35,000 in casino revenue.”

Oakham House lost money on casinos this year primarily because of scheduling. “In the fall the management committee had an [informal] discussion on casinos,” said Fabrizio.

They decided since students are the primary users of the newly-renovated Oakham house, no casinos should be run during school weeks, keeping them to weekends and weeks when school is out.

“Gambling on campus is one of those ethically questionable issues,” Steele said.

Fabrizio informed Dale McNichol, managing director of Oakham House, to “keep [casinos] away” from school weeks.

Fabrizio said: “The casino organizer was either unwilling or unable to meet with those demands,” so Oakham House decided not to work with them.

McNichol tried to find a new organizer and eventually a temporary casino was scheduled for February. That was cancelled, leaving Oakham House time for just one casino during reading week. The event raised $4,000.

As for the future of gambling at Oakham, Steele said: “I can guarantee there is no intention of applying for a permanent casino licence.”


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