Montreal Casino and the Language of Signs


Yesterday in an effort to escape the extreme heat my wife and I took her visiting family members to the well air-conditioned Casino de Montreal. I am not a big gambler, but I do enjoy the occasional flutter. We had a lovely cool time for an hour or so before once again coming to the realization that slot machines are indeed a Mug’s Game.

We had a lovely cool time for an hour or so before once again coming to the realization that slot machines are indeed a Mug’s Game.

While waiting for the members of our little group to assemble at the prearranged meeting point I noticed a very elegant door. Beside the door was a sign indicating that through this portal was the High Limits area. Not for quarter and 50-cent players, this is where the big bucks get won and lost (mostly lost I assume). What I found most interesting was the language of the sign.

Let me point out that the language of commercial signs in Quebec has long been a contentious issue. French language enthusiasts want the province to have a “French Face” which would rule out English on commercial signs. As it stands now any French must be twice the size of English on signs. Of course you could never enforce such a law without hiring folks to go around to businesses and measure the lettering, and that would be a silly waste of money. Wouldn’t it? Well … that is what happens.

Could the government be preying specifically on the high rate of gambling addiction found in many Asian communities?

What caught my eye on the sign at the Casino was not the presence of English, but the inclusion of Chinese characters as well. Let me point out that all Quebec casinos are government-owned. So here we have a government facility that includes Chinese on a sign for high roller gambling. Do they have signs in Chinese at the tax office? The license office? I think not.

If the sign had several languages other than French and English on it, say German, Russian, and Swedish, it would not have struck me as odd. Why just Chinese? Could the government be preying specifically on the high rate of gambling addiction found in many Asian communities?

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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