This graph gives a sense of the low tourism value of casinos as compared to arts and culture activities in cities. This is a well known fact, yet British Columbia has failed to develop the type of competent cultural economic plan or tourism economic plan that we see in other provinces. BC’s wholesale slashing of arts investment (unique in Canada) and its destruction of Tourism BC indicate to us that the government lacks a plan. The reliance upon gambling expansion is not just lazy, it’s economically unwise. It’s likely that given the combination of global troubles and online gambling the bottom will fall out of casino establishment gambling profits. In addition, cultural tourists generally come from a higher economic bracket, are more educated, and spend much more money at their destination.
Given these facts, it ought to become more obvious to Vancouver and the whole of BC why arts organizations, who were illegally made ineligible for BC gaming grants in 2009, banded together to fight the Edgewater mega-casino proposed for downtown Vancouver. Why are the tourism and arts sectors not being adequately consulted on a strategy and adequately subsidized as all other sectors are? They could bring billions into the Vancouver and BC economies. Why does the BC government refuse to understand, the way Ontario and Quebec do, that arts are a key factor in an economic plan? Both have state gambling (yet far better regulated than in BC) but they offset this with financially smart stimulus to arts and culture. It’s time for BC to get it together.
One must also add that arts and culture are part of a green economy, and bring no downside with them. With gambling however, there are increasingly strong stats that show its costs outweighing its profits, possibly 3 to 1. We heard this from many gambling experts during the hearings at Vancouver City Hall.
For more information on the economic benefits of arts and culture investment and cultural tourism, see post at Stop BC Arts Cuts.
Posted in Edgewater Casino, Gaming grant cuts
Tagged arts, arts cuts, cultural economic development, cultural plan, Edgewater Casino, gaming cuts, gaming grants, inelible, Toronto, tourism, Vancouver
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.
To see discussion of this issue, follow our Twitter (@vancityVegas) and also the Twitter hashtag #BCgaming.
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.
Posted in Gaming grant cuts
Tagged arts, BC, BC Liberals, British Columbia, charities, Christy Clark, gaming cuts, gaming expansion, Gaming Grant Review, gaming grants, Memorandum of Agreement, non-profits, renegotiation, revenue sharing, Skip Triplett, sports