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Back Opinion Opinion/Editorial Letters BC Charities Not Receiving Fair Share of Gaming Revenues

BC Charities Not Receiving Fair Share of Gaming Revenues

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BC government has not been honouring agreements

Attention: Editor

The Hon. Rich Coleman’s letter needs clarification and correction. The Burns Bog Conservation Society did not receive $120,000 between September 2008 and August 2010. The Society received a letter dated September 8, 2008 for $90,000.00 for a three year period.

The Society is not the issue. The issue is that the BC government has not been honouring agreements made with the BC Association for Charitable Gaming, the UBCM and the BC Government on June 17, 1999. This agreement set in place the permanent revenue sharing formula for all three parties.

  1. Municipalities: per the 1999 White Paper on Gaming recommendation of 10% net revenues from community casinos, and 16.7% of the net of destination casinos (Delta has no destination or community casinos that I am aware of);
  2. Charities: 33.3% of net gaming revenues of community casinos.

The agreement was in two parts of the same whole. The Meekison Report, 2000, treated them as foundational and binding on the BC government.

In 1995, based on a Vancouver staff report on the White Paper on gaming, charities received $131 million (35% of the net) and in 2010 (per BC Lottery Corporation Annual Report) charities received $112.5M (10.42% of the net). The $120 million for 2011 does not come up to the agreed 33.3% in 1999.

In spite of a 292% increase in annual gaming revenue over 1995, the BC government shocked the entire charitable sector in 2009 by unilaterally cutting the share allocated to charities by tens of millions of dollars to $112.5 million or $18.5 million below the 1995 levels (not adjusted for inflation) in 2009.

In 1995 charities received 35% of gaming proceeds. In 1999 when they signed the MoA they were guaranteed 33.3% as a permanent share. The current BC government has stripped this to 10.43% of the proceeds.

The bottom line is the BC Government is reneging on its legal agreement with BC Charities and forcing them to either close or drastically cut their services to BC communities all over the province including Delta.

The BC Government owes BC charities $1,279,566,670.00 in accrued arrears, not including interest.

I look forward to the BC Government recommitting itself to honouring the MoA signed in 1999 and immediately restoring gaming funds to all BC charities. I cannot think of a better way for the BC Government to honour charities, the volunteers and staff who toil for the good of the community.

Sincerely,

Eliza Olson
Director
BCACG

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