It is easy to hit the mute button, but it raises the question: why should fans be forced to do that?

With a young lad in hockey, the sports channels get more airtime at home than the news. Like most of his peers, he can rattle off stats or quickly search updated trivia points about who just scored and so on. Generations have grown up watching the Leafs, making it a real family night complete with chips and popcorn.

This season however, it seems like gambling has displaced truck and beer ads.

Like many aspects of today’s world, we are out of sync with what passes as normal. Even the great Wayne Gretzky is on it – promoting gambling, rather than excellence. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is there too, with its brand of online betting. 

We know several people who enjoy a fun hockey pool amongst friends. There probably are many workplaces where colleagues wager a draft or dinner on a game or whether a player reaches a milestone, like Mitch Marner and his longest point streak in Maple Leaf history. We see these as fun, generally non-consequential bets amongst friends.

This online betting, however, is another matter. With gigantic marketing budgets pushing their brand of fun and grabbing cash from the pockets of bettors who almost certainly have better places to spend their money, broadcasters are doing a disservice to the impressionable amongst us.

Where is the CRTC and the government in all of this? Absent or complicit, that’s where.

Rest assured, after enough people have been seduced and some run into trouble, the call will come for action and benefits for those addicted. In the meantime, everyone involved will get their cut, and another dubious past-time will be normalized.

Still time

With word that food prices are set to rise an estimated $1,200 per family next year, it appears those finding it tough now, are in for very rough times ahead.

A few observations in recent days suggest people shopping for groceries are far more careful than we have seen before. Quibbling over price matching, handing back items that rang in too expensive at the register and sparse items in shopping carts are more commonplace.

We have taken the opportunity this week to note food banks across Wellington County and encourage those in need to access the service (see article on pages 1 and 24). Seeking a hand-up in order to stay healthy and support one’s family is commendable. 

We are also suggesting there’s still time for those fortunate enough to have good jobs and a better lot in life to give to others. Many grocers have “easy to purchase and donate” charitable bags that will make a difference to families this Christmas.

There still is time to help someone in need.