Great Canadian initiative bad for Washingtonians

Speaking of lying sacks of shit, how about David Fretz, president of Great American Gaming, a wholly-owned subsidiary of loanshark-infested Great Canadian Gaming of Richmond, B.C., who operates four of Washington’s largest non-tribal casinos. When The Seattle Times asked him to comment on Initiative 892, he blustered:

“Why don’t you talk to Tim Eyman? It’s his initiative, OK?”

Ewwww… what’s that smell?

As I’ve previously explained, hiring Tim to front this steaming pile of legislative excrement may have been a clever exercise in branding, but I-892 has always been more a Great Canadian initiative than an Eyman one.

Great Canadian is I-892’s biggest financial backer… $210,000 thus far (that we know about.) Great Canadian has the most to gain from I-892… over $20 million a year from slots, at their four existing casinos. And Great Canadian has been pushing virtually identical legislation for the past three years, as one of the dominant forces behind the Recreational Gaming Association and the Entertainment Industry Association.

Great Canadian CFO Anthony Martin brags to investors that their Washington casinos were “purpose built” with a special raised floor, in the expectation that I-892 would introduce slot machines into their “local community casinos.” Really. It’s on video.

But it’s not simply the opportunity to expand their addictive wares into Washington neighborhoods that excites Great Canadian, it’s the fact that our ass-backwards gambling taxes would make Washington slots nearly three times more profitable than those north of the border.

In British Columbia, a monopoly market with limited licenses, the taxation rate is 61 percent on table games, and 75 percent on slots. Washington, with unlimited licenses and local gambling tax rates of up to 20 percent, is a land of opportunity by comparison.

By comparison, under I-892 the state taxes slots at 35%, cutting out local gambling taxes entirely.

The Canadian tax model is more the norm than the exception. Indeed, taxpayers in neighboring Oregon get 71% of the take from video poker machines, more than twice what I-892 gives Washingtonians.

Think about it. If this was truly an “Eyman initiative”, he could have doubled the promised tax break, by cutting taxpayers a larger share.

Instead, for a $47,000 salary he sold out to I-892’s real sponsor, Great Canadian. They got a sweet deal. But it sure does stink.


  1. 1

    Josef spews:

    Yeah, it does. Frankly, I think it’s treasonous that out-of-state, much less foriegn interests can purchase initiatives. At least our criticism, muckraking and the like has hopefully benched the Canucks.

    With that said, I know the large majority of Canadians – like Ontario’s Sandra Pupatello (left-of-centre Tony Blair liberal) to B.C.’s Gordon Campbell (right-of-centre old-fashioned liberal) support what we’re doing foriegn-policy wise and probably wouldn’t approve of what GCG is doing.

    I also hope with the election of Laura Ruderman as Secretary of State, we will see that office swoop on down to stop the next Canuck invader.

    On that note, this initiative had better fail, for among a litany of reasons & rationales, because it could unleash a tidal wave nationwide of Canucks buying American border state gov’t initiatives…