Vancouver Not Vegas calls on Premier Clark to suspend B.C. Lottery Corp advertising

Vancouver Not Vegas, the citizens’ coalition group that successfully mobilized opposition to the proposed expanded Edgewater Casino development, has another target in its sights: the B.C. Lottery Corporation advertising budget.

This morning, the organization called on Premier Christy Clark to immediately suspend the BCLC’s advertising campaigns, and use that money to restore funding to the Vancouver International Children’s Festival and other B.C. charities affected by cuts to gaming grants.

“We call on Premier Clark to take urgent action on her ”˜Families First’ agenda and save our vital community institutions today,” reads a statement from the group. “We ask Premier Clark, as an emergency measure, to immediately suspend all B.C. Lottery Corporation marketing and advertising and divert that budget to charities and non-profits facing closure, pending the outcome of the upcoming gaming review. Vancouver Not Vegas further asks Premier Clark to order the B.C. Lottery Corporation to disclose its marketing and advertising budget to the public that pays for it.”

In a phone interview, Sandy Garossino, spokesperson for Vancouver Not Vegas, said the financial problems faced by the VICF, which has had its gaming grant cut by 50 percent, spurred the group to action.

“What we’re asking is for the Premier to save the Children’s Festival, and if she’s looking for a place where she can pull money to do that, we’re suggesting that the [B.C.] Lottery Corporation has a huge advertising budget,” she said. “As an emergency measure the province should suspend [the BCLC’s] advertising and take that budget, and use it for emergency funding of the charities that are on the brink of failure.”¦ The Children’s Festival will close on Sunday, and we may lose a Vancouver institution. It’s very urgent that these things start to happen now. There are some 1,500 charities and non-profits across the province that are at risk of completely failing and closing their doors within the next two to three months, if not by the fall."

The Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre has already closed its doors, Garossino noted, adding that more organizations are feeling the pinch now that multiyear grants are beginning to expire. Many, she said, are close to breaking point. “Many of them have just been running on fumes,” she said. “A number of them have been cut for a long time, and they are just really at the end of their ropes. What we understand from the B.C. Association for Charitable Gaming, they have done their own internal polling of their membership, and the thousands of non-profits that they deal with, and they know that things are at an extreme state.”

In the statement from Vancouver Not Vegas, Susan Marsden, president of the B.C. Association for Charitable Gaming, said: “The expansion of gambling in B.C. has only hurt the non-profit sector. The greater the B.C. Lottery Corporation revenue, the worse it gets for charities.”

Lindsay Brown, co-founder of Vancouver Not Vegas, added: “The public was assured that if gambling were expanded, significant revenues would be directed to the charities and non-profits that serve communities. That promise was broken, and now families and communities are taking the hit.”

According to Vancouver Not Vegas, programs affected by gaming grant cuts include support for brain injury survivors, services to families of the Canadian Armed Forces servicemen and women, support for seniors and youth at risk, and transportation of sick children to hospitals and treatment centres across the province.

“Emergency funding has to happen now. Once an organization fails, it can’t be put back together again,” urged Garossino. “So we will lose it forever, or it would cost far more to reinstate it. It’s absolutely critical that funding get to these organizations before they fail.”

She added: "There are millions and millions of dollars that are going into the B.C. Lottery Corporation advertising budget, and that’s subsidizing advertising for private businesses--the casinos are private businesses. And the taxpayer is paying for their advertising. Why are we subsidizing advertising for private enterprises when we’ve got the public organizations that are serving families and communities are failing?"

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7 Comments

SD

Jun 3, 2011 at 3:35pm

Every time I see a new BCLC ad, I send a complaint to the Advertising Standards council for false advertising. I haven't had any success, but I feel that being annoying is worth sending off an email.

I think there should be anti-gambling ads, as on Alberta TV stations. The cheery little "know your limit, play within it" isn't much of a deterrent to gambling addicts. (Not sure if the Alberta ads are either, but they're better than nothing.)

The worst BC ads are the ones that say (paraphrasing) "throw your money away and we'll give a fraction of it to hospitals."

I'm on a hospital board. We take donations. People don't have to feed their money into a slot machine to get it to us. They can even tell us what machines (CT scanner, fetal monitor) they'd like it to go towards.

At the very least, the casino ads should be banned. There is no reason for BC taxpayers to pay for casino advertising.

11 7Rating: +4

shavluk

Jun 3, 2011 at 4:35pm

HEAR ! HEAR !!

Please post a link for these people !!
I have said the same for YEARS !!

Its like they have all the money in the world and they are giving it all to Global TV

I hear the lottery thinks no one will remember we have lottery draws if the dont spent MILLIONS advertising

It is appalling disgusting ...pure stupidity or greed
Please tell us all how to help with this ....OR GIVE A LINK PLEASE
As yes its way way over due !
Cheers

a jones

Jun 3, 2011 at 5:59pm

This is such a narrow mixed idea. A it is the government who decides what to do with the lottery money in bc... not the lottery. The lottery has generated more money every year but the government cut the funding not the lottery. You people are dense if you think suspending advertising and affecting revenue generation would mean MORE money for charities get real... less money from lottery would only mean less money for charities. considering more and more money has been generated and less and less goes where it should is the fault of government and government alone. Read the annual reports alot of money went into the atmosphere not because of BCLC but because of government. don't like gambling... don't gamble. Don't pretend a few million bucks in ads is the problem when a few BILLION has been unaccounted for publicly after it hit government "general revenue.

glen p robbins

Jun 3, 2011 at 10:29pm

I don't want to be a buzz kill - but I agree -- telling people that life becomes great if you win the Lottery is something I find quite disturbing.

Research shows the average mope that comes into big money - has their life turned upside down--not for the better.

It is likely an unpopular position - but society and the communities aren't better because of gambling and lotteries - its false hope and retrogressive.

It also makes government greedy - it's unfortunate - I suspect there is no turning back - but I believe government has created a very confused unhappy social culture - I might be overly nostalgic - but I believe we have had better times - gambling - promotion of it - ads on and on and on --- it isn't good, but the talking heads know it pays for their red wheelbarrow -

It is kind of pathetic.

Jessica Werb

Jun 4, 2011 at 11:39am

shavluk, I've now included a link to Vancouver Not Vegas--just click on the first instance of the group's name.

11 9Rating: +2

KTFO

Jun 4, 2011 at 2:25pm

The Govt., gets Billions in Revenues from Gaming, it's like asking the Fox to guard the Hen House.

As for Charities there are simply too many unfocused Charity Dollars going to waste, more focused Dollars going to fewer Charities would be more effective. I'm not arguing about the Causes all these Charities support just that it needs focus of resources to really get things done.

Take Homelessness, it does not only effect Drugged out addicts, given the cost of living, people who work part time and/or in low paying jobs are ending up Homeless.

A significant portion of the yearly Charity Dollars could go to provide housing to Homeless people instead of splitting the money so much that it becomes ineffective.

But this Government found $600 Million to pay for a stadium Roof, Billions for Olympics & other White Elephants, so why can't it find an equal sum to fund ALL the Charities?

12 9Rating: +3

R U Kiddingme

Jun 5, 2011 at 10:14pm

All gambling is a tax on the innumeracy. If people really want to pay taxes then by all means they should continue to gamble. If they want to lower their taxes then they should not. It's pretty simple. If "know your limit, play within it" doesn't sent the message -- or the loss of their, say, possessions, marriage, and self respect -- doesn't send the message, then what's an ad gonna do?