Vancouver Not Vegas says the Gaming Grant Review is a welcome opportunity to address the expanding crisis in BC’s non-profit sector.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Vancouver Not Vegas welcomes Premier Clark’s announcement of the provincial gaming review yesterday. “We hope that as a result of this initiative, charities and non-profits will never again have to shill for the gambling industry in British Columbia,” says VNV co-founder Sandy Garossino.
Charities and the communities they serve are entitled to a clear, fair and independent grant process, and not to be pitted against one another in a race for gambling revenues. Eligibility criteria and adjudication should meet broad standards of procedural fairness, and be free of interference by the political interests of any party.
Without public notice, debate or scrutiny, the provincial government instituted rapid gambling expansion as a silent pillar of tax policy, to the point that gambling revenues now exceed corporate taxes in BC. Unaware of the larger picture or the extent of the impact on communities, the charitable sector lent critical support to this strategy. It should have understood the bargain that it made and how hungry government would become for the non-profit share of revenues it controlled. Due to severe cuts to gaming grants, hundreds of charities find themselves on the brink of collapse. Even Vancouver’s venerable Children’s Festival found itself on life support in Spring 2011. British Columbians and their families see insufficient benefit from soaring gambling revenues.
“The system is broken. We must devise a better one for the public and for the charitable and non-profit sector that serves them,” says Lindsay Brown, VNV co-founder.
We look to Premier Clark to demonstrate the government’s good faith by granting emergency interim funding to sustain any organizations close to failure while we await the outcome of the review.
Below: an example of the charities who benefit (or in many cases have benefited in the past but no longer do) from local gambling establishments.