NDP's Horgan pulls the plug on online gambling

The NDP's John Horgan committed today to pulling the plug on BC Lottery Corporation’s online casino and focusing instead on responsible gaming, crime prevention and restoring gaming funding to charities and non-profit organizations.

“British Columbia needs to focus on operating our current gaming activities in compliance with the law, and restoring trust with local communities, charities and non-profit organizations who have been left behind in the massive Liberal gaming expansion of the last ten years," said Horgan.

Horgan committed to winding down the online casino, ordering an independent review of the current casino expansion in downtown Vancouver, and focusing the BC Lottery Corporation on assisting problem gamblers and ensuring that all activities comply with legal requirements.

“I will also immediately restore $30 million of funding to BC’s charities and non-profits who were promised funding by the Liberals, then saw that promise disappear,” said Horgan who added that the money received by these groups has fallen during the last ten years, while gaming revenue has nearly tripled.  “Funding needs to be increased,” he said, “and a new agreement with charities and non-profits, including arts organizations, needs to be developed."

Horgan said that getting into the online casino business puts BC in the same league as international operators who operate in a wild west atmosphere that encourages crime and preys on gambling addicts and young people.  A report by the British government found that criminals target online betting sites to move tainted money and disguise its illegal origins, and a 2010 review of case studies found that internet gambling sites are ideal for money laundering and other activities like fraud and related crimes. 

“We can’t turn back the clock on most gaming activities in BC”, said Horgan. “Many British Columbians enjoy buying lottery tickets or visiting their local casino.  Government needs to focus on making sure those activities are safe, free from crime and benefit all British Columbians.  That is what a government led by me will do.”


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