Is it an effective tool to fight gambling addiction or a big waste of money?
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is slamming the BC Lottery Corporation for what it describes as “blowing more and more money” on a “big schmoozefest.”
The CTF says according to its own Freedom of Information request the BCLC lost more than $200,000 on its New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference last year.
According to the taxpayer activist group’s Jordan Bateman, the event has lost more than $400,000 in the last three years.
“Fewer than 85 [people] actually paid to attend the conference in 2016, with a subsidy of $208,000 that’s almost $2500 dollars per paid registry.”
The documents show $23,000 was paid for airfare, $41,000 to rent the convention centre, and $55,000 on food and drinks.
But BCLC spokesperson Angela Koulyras says the most recent event held in February cost less money.
“We had approximately over $200,000 in sponsorships and registration fees, and the final total cost to B.C. will be under $140,000.”
Koulyras defended the losses from the events saying they have a “modest budget” compared to the $9.5-million it invests into responsible gambling every year.
BCLC’s website describes the conference as “a hub of thought leadership in the industry,” for discussion on “effective and innovative approaches to gambling and … strategies for healthy approaches and positive growth.”
It says the conference is attended by researchers and representatives from the gambling industry, along with treatment and prevention specialists.