In 1892 the Canadian Criminal Code completely bans all forms of gambling, but since then the government slowly and gradually relaxed some provisions of the Code. The big break that the gambling operators were anxiously waiting for came during 1976 when the government was = committed to organizing and funding of the Montreal Olympics Games. The government lends a helping hand in the raising funds to finance the national project and to make the MOG a success. The local government were involved and committed to make the MOG a success also. Among the several ways and means of getting the finances as the roaming casino was born out of necessity of the charitable organizations for the Montreal Olympic Games, it turned out a huge success. There are today the remnants and known symbol as the Canadian National Exposition which celebrated as a huge and big national fair in Toronto, Montreal every year, the local called it a short name simply the “Expo”. The CNE is the Greenest Fair in North America; the CNE Fair will be in August 19th to September 5th, 2011. It is safe to say that the “Expo”, the “SADSH” and probably including the “Plais Des Congress” are all the offspring of these efforts all were roaming casinos in the Montreal, Quebec area one way or another. The crack opened the floodgate of “casinos” – the provincial and federal governments took the opportunity to use “lotteries to fund” worthy community events.
A major change in government attitudes toward gambling occurred in 1985 with the introduction of slot machines and most likely the early horse racing, bingo and other forms of parlor games the gaming operators took a very tight grip to gambling opportunities gained – organizing themselves as ‘charitable groups’ – the tide of change was unstoppable and gambling in Canada was never the same again.
Petitions after petitions from Ontario and Quebec to allow them to operate some forms of gambling paid off with the 3 day mini casino operations. The roaming 3 days casino was finally ushered in the late 1980-early 1990 to mid 1996, until they were banned totally and the national government put in place the big gambling halls in Quebec, where the “big 5″ casinos in a modern sense are all found. In the end they lost the thriving business to big casino operators that are there today in the middle of 1996 when the 3 day roaming charity casino were totally banned, I mean “banish”.
Although history tells us that the Montreal, Quebec spearheaded the advent of gambling to raise fund for the Montreal Olympic Games there were 5 roaming casinos known to have operated the 3 day casino system. The Ontario province had the most in roaming 3 days casinos because of their heavy concentration of population. There were approximately close to 65-70 roaming casinos operating in the Ontario province, with Toronto leading the way in the number of roamers. The Toronto area was geographically, economically, agriculturally and highly developed infrastructure – heavily populated with different ethnicity which include the Italian, Chinese, and other Asian population.
The Canadian three day itinerant or roaming charity “casinos” has been the most elusive, photos are not readily available and are practically non-existent, these casinos were allowed to do gaming business good for 3 days only and they have to move. Can you imagine renting a place for 3 days only or carrying and handling craps table across the street or across the block? Blackjack tables were the lightest, the easiest to carry and move around, hence we can justly say that there were more blackjack games offered than roulettes which was also heavy stuff and the wheel was a delicate thing to move and carry around because the spindle and the wheel bearings has to be balanced to have a fair game or craps table if ever the latter game existed at all. The craps table is actually two parts – the table itself which hold the table layout and the chips and the one piece pedestal which are made of solid mahogany wood to hold the heavy table carried by 3 to 4 adult guys.
The dates given in practically all the Canadian chips are first approximation and most likely were given for convenience to refer to a very difficult dating. Personally we simply group them into a time frame like “a roaming casino or itinerant game vendors in the late 1980 – early 1990 to mid 1996″ when the government regulated and licensed game operator henceforth.