Tag Archives: gaming cuts

Culture attracts far greater tourism than gambling

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.

Gaming Grant Review an opportunity to address crisis in BC’s non-profit sector

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.

Media contact:
Sandy Garossino
778-231-5230

sgarossino@gmail.com

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.


 

 

Vancouver Children’s Festival at risk; why not fund it with the giant BC Lottery Corp advertising budget!

 

The Vancouver Not Vegas organization calls on Premier Clark to immediately suspend expensive advertising campaigns for the BC Lottery Corporation and invest that money in the almost 1,500 BC charities are non-profits that are on the brink of failure due to cuts in gaming grants and other government funding.

Premier Clark: Please truly put Families First by saving the Children’s Festival and other non-profits and charities.

 

Vancouver International Children’s Festival is at risk of closure after nearly 35 years. And hundreds of other festivals, organizations, charities and non-profits are in the same boat.

Money partial knee replacement
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from gaming is simply not going to the charities and non-profits who were the justification for BC gambling expansion in the first place. Why are we seeing gaming funding removed from family festivals and other charities, and siphoned into projects like the BC Place Stadium Roof? What about the massive revenue increases for the BC Lottery Corp this past decade? None of those increases have gone to the charities and non-profits who made that expansion possible! Now they are shutting down all over the province. Premier Clark, please deal with this travesty. This is a breach of trust with the people of British Columbia. Use the BCLC ad budget if necessary.

While we would like to eventually see a de-linking of charities from gaming, and see them funded instead out of general revenue, for the time being we have no choice but to ask for charity gaming grants to be restored from existing gambling revenue. How can the government continue expanding gambling in this province in the name of charities, while withholding the percentage of revenue they were promised?

Full text of media release is below:

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Strathcona Residents’ Association Opposes Edgewater Casino Expansion in Unanimous Motion

Strathcona Residents’ Association
c/o 601 Keefer Street, Vancouver, BC, V6A 3V8
Strathcona-residents.org

January 5, 2011

To The Mayor and City Council of Vancouver:

As Chair of The Strathcona Resident’s Association (SRA), I am writing to inform you that at our January 5, 2011 meeting:

The Strathcona Residents Association unanimously voted to oppose the expansion of the Edgewater Casino at BC Place Stadium in False Creek.

The SRA urges City Council to refuse to pass the B.C. Government’s application to expand gaming in the municipality, and to oppose the building of the Edgewater mega-casino.

Our reasons for opposition to the building of the expanded Edgewater casino include the following:

1. The planned casino is less than a ten minute walk from our neighbourhood. The well-documented crime that attends casinos, even in provinces with far better gambling regulation than that observed in British Columbia, is not welcome. Strathcona already suffers from crime levels far worse than most other districts. Our position is that situating a massive casino so close to the Downtown Eastside, with its pre-existing crime and policing troubles, is unwise to say the least. Recent news reports demonstrate that casinos provide easy access to money laundering for organized crime, and casinos always attract gang activity. We ask you to acknowledge the growing threat that gangs constitute to our communities.

2. The expanded casino will bring increased traffic to the tune of 300 cars per hour, which will negatively impact our community.

3. The BC government expanded gaming in this province on the back of support from charities who expected to be supported by gaming revenues. Charities have been radically cut away from these revenues. Our neighbourhood, like every other, derives important services from these charities. We see no benefit from expanded gaming in our community.

4. We are opposed to gambling and gambling expansion in general as it significantly increases social ills, something our community witnesses in graphic form daily.

Again, we urge you to decline the application for gaming expansion, and remind you that Strathcona’s opposition is strong and unanimous.

Sincerely,

James C. Johnstone
Chairperson, Strathcona Residents’ Association
Chair@strathcona-residents.org

604-254-4666

cc. Jenny Kwan, MLA
Libby Davies, MP