To the editor:
Lately I’ve been hearing, again, about our ferry funding woes. How do we fund the ferries with most of the runs operating at a deficit?
Well, maybe this could help.
Picture this: I’m heading to the ferry out of Seattle, heading home after a long days work, stopping at the ticket counter. Our smiling ticket vendor hands me a ticket — free, no charge. Sometimes they actually pay me to ride, but no promotions today. But I could, possibly, make money on this ride.
Walking briskly aboard with the happy crowd I’m going to head for the galley first, since my wife is not home tonight with dinner. I’ll start with a small bowl of steamed clams in butter, baked salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, and apple pie for desert.
It’s awfully good, but I have to keep moving because the run is only 35 minutes, and I’m only getting started. I’m thinking about the old days of processed hamburger-like patties in squashed buns languishing under heat lamps in the old ferry galley. Things have really changed since the Washington State Ferries partnered with the Tribe.
Say what? Ferries partnered with the Tribe?
Hey, our native friends really know how to get the job done! The upper deck now hums with machines and laughter at the roulette wheels and card tables, cries of jubilation and despair, happy gamblers plunking down their cash to entertain themselves, and, incidentally, fund our ferries.
Washington is now the world leader in casino ferries. Now that the ferries are so popular, and a little bit too crowded, we’re waiting for the new 650-foot casino-ferries to be launched.
Our talented local naval architects and shipyards are busy. More room for cars below. More room for both commuters and festive gamers. Some posh staterooms will be available for overnighters. A helicopter pad will be available for VIPs. A stage for bands and educational series lectures. A swimming pool for the top deck. And, an expanded buffet, seafood and steak house restaurant. It’s like a cruise ship that doesn’t go anywhere.
But I am only sailing home tonight, so I’m heading to the Blues Stage for the rest of my trip.
Personally, gambling’s not for me. I play penny-ante blackjack with my 7-year-old niece and nephew, and they bankrupt me in minutes. Even when I’m the dealer! I’d have about as much chance winning as the basset hound next door.
But, as it turns out, gamblers don’t always need to win, because casinos are not just about winning, they are about entertainment. My own boat is entertainment, too, but I put in money, and never get any back. At least gamblers have a chance of winning. Our ferries are now just a whole lot of fun.
The ferries provide entertainment, and we get a ride home across Puget Sound (and maybe some entertainment, and dinner, too!).
What’s not to like about that?