NDP blasts lottery corporation spending

Employee buyout program backfired, lottery tickets sold to minors, suspicious cash transactions in casinos doubled

NDP gambling critic David Eby

NDP gambling critic David Eby

A financial review of B.C. Lottery Corp. put a sunny face on an organization that continues to waste money and have significant gaps in control of illegal activities, NDP gambling critic David Eby says.

Among the findings of the review were that BCLC costs have been rising faster than revenues from casinos and lotteries, four departing executives received 18 months severance pay regardless of their length of service, and a test of retailers found that 40 per cent of them sold lottery tickets to minors.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong released the report Wednesday in Kamloops, with BCLC board chair Bud Smith describing an overhaul of the corporation’s human resources department after a staff buyout program that was designed to save $6.6 million, but ended up costing $25 million.

The corporation offered early retirement and severance packages to employees aged 50 and older, expecting to eliminate 68 positions. The offer was accepted by 142 employees, and de Jong admitted that BCLC will have to hire more staff to fill some of the unexpected vacancies.

The program was “not a particularly shining example” of management, he said.

Eby also noted that since BCLC stopped paying for a dedicated RCMP group to investigate money laundering, suspicious cash transactions in B.C. casinos have doubled, “and to my knowledge there has not been a single charge at a B.C. casino related to money laundering.”

De Jong said the increase in reports to Ottawa of large cash transactions are in part due to a better system for detecting them.

“There are some big rollers out there who travel from Macao to Vegas to Vancouver, who are used to transacting their gaming in cash,” de Jong said.

Eby also highlighted an “employee recognition” program that paid out $217,000 last year in cash, gift cards and merchandise, and a catered corporate box at the Rogers Centre in Vancouver.

“This is money that is taken from hospitals, schools and public programs to pay for BCLC executives to go to Canucks games,” he said.

The audit also showed that BCLC’s venture into online poker and gambling, PlayNow.com, is bringing in only three per cent of the corporation’s revenues after five years of operation.

 

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements’ invention La Méduse (the Jellyfish) removes oil from the ocean. The invention was one of 15 out of 700 inventions submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Little Inventors contest. (Cole Schisler photo)
‘Little Inventors’ from Ladysmith showcased in national science challenge

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements were one of 15 finalists in the Little Inventors Challenge

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read