It was hard to hear my anonymous tipper over the hoots and cheers of a riled up crowd. The Hamilton Town Hall was full of citizens, discussing a possible Casino downtown. For the first time, there seems to be a plausible compromise from a closed-door meeting between council and stakeholders. The results are finally out.
The #casiNO movement has gone viral on social media, and through the racy nudity protests. Proponents of the casino have used everything to sweeten the pot from a Hard Rock Cafe to doubling the capacity of the King St. cultural hub, Show World. These two sides seem no closer to a compromise, until today.
The silver bullet comes in the form of online poker’s new rival: online cockfighting. Already taking the Southern Hemisphere by storm, the fights will be broadcast on pay-per-view cable and online, with the ability to place bets, start pools and sponsor roosters on their website – www.hamiltoncocknetwork.com (not yet operational). Online cockfighting solves three of the major sticking points:
Firstly, the financially ailing HECFI will get a legal gambling venue without making major changes to the facility. They will have a steady stream of people at the fights, but won’t have to deal with the stigma of slot machines and the seedy, 24 hour operations of a regular casino. And, of course, they’ll pull in much-need revenue.
Secondly, as professor of economics, Hannah Holmes, pointed out at last night’s Town Hall meeting, we need revenue from outside of Hamilton. In other words, tourist dollars. Having fights on the internet will save businesses from fund diversion, as the internet does not have physical boundaries. You could be sitting in Vegas placing bets on Hamilton’s largest cock. Place’s like Burrito Boyz or The Brain rely on local customers, and this could be the compromise that clinches the deal.
Lastly, the urban chicken issue is back on the table, so to speak. The councillors said if it was part of the compromise, they would all be on board.
When I asked for community feedback, Johhny’s coffee manager, Scott Gardiner, said: “Its about damn time the city got there act together helping us to get cockfighting back in this City. We have the best birds in southern Ontario in this City. Our cocks are dying to get in the ring.” The passion for birds in this city is off the charts.
Former Mayor of Hamilton, Larry Di Ianni, said: “Raising gamecocks would be an economic development strategy. I know the sport is bloody, but less so than politics in our town…Apparently some gamecocks are given oxygen-enhancing hormones to make them perform better. These birds we’d call Armstrongs or Lance-a-lots in keeping with medieval tradition.”
Apparently this win-win might even turn out to benefit the city’s beleaguered Ticats. Shortly after this announcement there were rumours circulating Michael Vick, the notorious NFL quarterback who plead guilty to illegal dog fighting, has expressed interest in trying out for the Ticats backup quarterback position recently vacated by Quinton Porter.
All rumours aside, this is an all around win in the eyes of the rarely-united councillors of Hamilton. Let’s embrace the cock-fighting as a stroke of good luck.
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