According to AGLC officials, proceeds earned from the gaming platform will contribute to Alberta’s General Revenue Fund, which is used to support programs and services in the province.
- It’s been a year of change and uncertainty. As we all navigate the impacts of COVID-19, it’s important to utilize the programs available if your Not-for-Profit is struggling. In this blog post, CCVO Guest Blogger Robin Butler discusses important tips for the existing subsidies, NPO-specific consider.
- As with traditional casinos, the province requires a 70% share of net proceeds to be paid from on-reserve casino slot machines that is deposited in the Alberta Lottery Fund and used for traditional lottery programs as well as for a First Nations Development Fund Grant Program.
- A group that has an AGLC web account can view its Current Use of Proceeds List at any time Timelines for using proceeds Groups must use gaming proceeds within 24 months after receiving the proceeds.
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Calgary community groups that count on funding worried volunteers won't want to pull all-nighters
Extending casino hours raises concerns
CBC News: Calgary at 6:007 years agoVideoStarting tomorrow, Alberta casino tables will be open three more hours each night, raising concerns about the ability for non-profit organizations that rely on gambling proceeds to find volunteers.2:12
Starting tomorrow, Alberta casino tables will be open three more hours each night, raising concerns about the ability for non-profit organizations that rely on gambling proceeds to find volunteers.
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) recently approved a three-hour extension, allowing casino tables to be open for a 17-hour stretch instead of the current 14 hours.
Casino operators were calling for longer hours and some charities hoped it would increase their revenues, according to a report by the AGLC.
But other not-for-profit groups, which supply volunteers for casinos in exchange for a cut of the revenues, have questions about the decision-making process. Casinos produce $63,000 to $67,000 per quarter for each organization that sends volunteers.
To earn casino proceeds, an Alberta charity has to put 39 volunteers in casinos over a two-day period, said Leslie Evans, executive director of the Federation of Calgary Communities.
“Adding three hours to a day could make it more and more difficult to fill those shifts, especially on a weeknight,” she said.
Currently, volunteers are out of the casinos by 3 a.m., after counting cash. But now she expects they will be there as late as 5 a.m.
“It’s tough when you have to get up and go to work after getting out of the casino at three,” Evans said. “I think the perception will be that they might as well not go to sleep for an hour or two, that they might as well go straight to work. I think that will deter some people.”
Charities count on the funds
Not sending volunteers is not an option for many groups, she said.
“There is no other fundraiser that has that equivalent take. So it’s really important. That money is used to offset our programs, facilities, and the services we provide to Calgarians and to Albertans, because casinos are across the province.”
She’s trying to reach the AGLC about who was consulted on the new rules and may join the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues in asking the province to reverse the decision. She’s also interested in creating a database of keen casino volunteers willing to fill in when organizations can’t get enough helpers.
Meeting 'consumer demand'
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission said it's trying to strike a balance, said Dan Huang.
'We're trying to meet consumer demand,' he said. 'We hope to see increased revenues for charities and we'll just monitor the situation and see how it goes from there.'
Lee Athias, who manages the Grey Eagle Casino, said 24-hour casinos are next.
'There are people here who work night shifts, there are people who work afternoon shifts, so why should they not have the opportunity to go out after work and do something, anything? Come in and have a meal, never mind play.'
Each organization will have to weigh whether the money justifies the later hours, said Athias.
'I'd be hard-pressed to see them go back to the old days of bottle drives and bake sales. You're not going to run your hockey team that way.'
According to a report by the AGLC, 61 per cent of the charities consulted liked the idea of longer hours.
“The majority of those in favor of longer hours cited increased revenue potential as the primary reason for doing so,” according to the report. “For those charities opposed to expanded table hours, an increased burden on the volunteer pool was the biggest concern for most charity groups. Other reasons for opposition include perceptions that the extra hours are unnecessary, and that there isn’t sufficient demand to justify more hours.”
Gambling experts are questioning an Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis decision to expand access to slot machines.
Slot machines can currently operate between 10 a.m. and 3 a.m., but AGLC spokesperson Heather Holmen said casinos will eventually be able to run the machines 24 hours per day.
The change will be optional and it will only apply to slot machines, she said. The only other gaming activity that is allowed to run 24 hours per day is poker, which is currently offered at 11 of the province's 28 gaming venues.
AGLC changed the rules 'to be more responsive to consumers and casino operators,' Holmen said, bringing Alberta in line with other provinces that already allow 24-hour slots.
But critics fear increased access could be harmful for people addicted to gambling with the machines.
Garry Smith, a former researcher with the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, called the move 'a money grab' in an interview with CBC's Radio Active on Monday.
According to AGLC's latest annual report, revenues from slot machines, video lottery terminals (VLTs) and electronic bingo totalled $1.736 billion in 2019, down slightly from 2018.
Revenue from those sources, minus commissions and other expenses, used to go to the Alberta Lottery Fund, but the provincial government dissolved the fund this fall and transferred the money to general revenue.
David Hodgins, a psychology professor at the University of Calgary and research co-ordinator for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, said slot machines are among the most harmful types of gambling because 'people get overly involved with them and begin to lose control.'
Hodgins called the policy a move in the wrong direction.
'We really should be moving toward more consumer protection and reducing the likelihood of harm,' he said.
Aglc Casino Funds List
Smith said a seven-hour break from slot machines can break the cycle of addiction.
'Maybe you'll come to your senses before you run out of money,' he said. 'It just helps.'
'Supporting player wellness'
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Holmen said in an email that AGLC is 'committed to supporting player wellness' and that Alberta casinos have resources to help people whose gambling has become a problem.
All Alberta casinos and community gaming centres have GameSense Info Centres (GSICs) near the gaming floor, where advisors answer questions and assist gamblers who need help.
Aglc Casino Funds 2020
Casino staff also undergo mandatory social responsibility training, Holmen said.
Casinos were informed of the rule change a few weeks ago, but it had been in the works for a long time, said Vince Pao, director of marketing for Pure Canadian Gaming. The company has casinos in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge.
'It's something that we welcome but we need to ensure that the agency and operators all work together to ensure that there's a strong social responsibility component to that, and the responsible gaming component is addressed,' Pao said.
Aglc Casino Funds Performance
Pao said the company will need to ensure it has enough staff to handle 24-hour gaming and wants to work with the province on guidelines for establishing consistent hours of operation in Alberta.