I’m curious as to Derek Sturkos job description. He IS the head of the BCLC, is he not? Does it not all come down to him in the end?
I’m willing to bet Mr. Sturko’s as head honcho are numbered, because the fastest and most efficient way for the Liberals to handle the latest PR nightmare is to make him the fall guy, appoint someone new, and claim a fresh start. Sweeping changes at BC’s casinos, is the line we’ll hear. Massive reform. No more money laundering (ahh, sure), no more babies in left alone in cars, no more crooked staff, no more drug deals, muggings loan sharks and extortioners….. yeah, right. Don’t fool yourself. The ONLY way to stop all of the above activities is to close the casinos, and that’s not going to be happening anytime soon.
If the average citizen knew exactly how much revenue flows into government coffers as a result of all that gambling, and where it went, they would begin to understand why we really wont see anything change. They might institute a few new protocols to try and prevent the money laundering scandal from popping up again, but to make any real changes would mean starting from scratch. New staff, background checks on all of them- you think there aren’t good friends of gangs working in there now? Guess again.
Enoughs enough. The reality is that the way the current system is set up makes the province incredibly dependant on casino revenue. Not just the government, but all of us. Take a look at these figures from the BC government website titled ” Where The Money Goes” :
This overview shows the distribution of revenues from commercial gaming in British Columbia. All figures are projected for 2007/08.
Total revenues from commercial gaming in B.C. are expected to be $2.49 billion. After expenses, including prize payouts, total government revenues from gaming will be about $1.03 billion.
Government revenue will be distributed as follows:
|Non-profit community organizations||$147.6 million|
|Local governments that host casinos and community gaming centres||$75.8 million|
|Local economic development projects||$14.6 million|
|Horse racing purse enhancement||$5.0 million|
|Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch operations|
|Core operations, including salaries and business expenses||$11.8 million|
|Responsible gambling education and problem gambling services||$7.0 million|
|B.C. Government programs|
|Health Special Account, to support health care services and research||$147.5 million|
|Consolidated revenue fund, to support other government programs, primarily health care and education||$615.1 million|
|Government of Canada transfer|
|Under a federal/provincial lottery agreement||$8.6 million|
See the entire link with supporting reports at : http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/gaming/revenue/index.htm
So you see, they are not likely to be shutting down, fining, or otherwise impeding the operation of any casino as a result of this news. Look where that money is going. Gaming grants are the biggest and most dependable for many non-profit organizations, such as the one I worked for previously. It was the lions share of our budget for the year. I don;t condone it, I think it could have been done differently, but nonetheless, the government has become dependant on all the money wittered away by gamblers.
The evils of gambling are apparent, and really, there is little anyone can do to prevent it from occurring. Alcoholics will always get liquor, addicts will always get their drugs and gamblers will find away to gamble. Gangs will always pay of casino staff who work for peanuts, as well as managers and pit bosses,for ‘favors’.
Its the nature of the business. Ever been to Vegas? Why would you think Vancouver is any different? So, Derek, if you’re out there, I could be wrong about this whole thing, but you might want to start looking for ways to “cash out”. The BC government has a good record of finding a fall guy to take the rap and your days playing the game are likely to be limited.