A Call To Action: Protect Charitable Gaming

Dear Alliance Members:

At the Alliance for Arts and Culture’s Board Meeting on November 16 a resolution was passed to support the BC Association for Charitable Gaming’s Petition to the City of Vancouver to protect the charitable and non-profit sector in the City of Vancouver.

The request to expand the Edgewater Casino will come to City Council in the context of massively expanding gaming activity and increasing revenues to the province, at the expense of its commitments to charities and non-profits, including arts and cultural groups. 

The resolution reads as follows:

Whereas:

Gambling in Canada was legalized for the purpose of benefiting sports, arts, and community charitable and non-profit purposes;

Benefits to charities and non-profits have been used as a justification for the expansion of gaming in British Columbia;

Support by charities and non-profits was critical to the success of the original grant of gambling license to Edgewater Casino, and the applicant at that time entered into undertakings to benefit the charitable sector in order to acquire its gambling license;

Edgewater Casino has not fulfilled its obligations under that original license;

The Province of British Columbia has failed to adhere to the spirit and the letter of its own Memorandum of Agreement with the BC Association for Charitable Gaming, committing it to allocating 33 percent of gaming revenues to charities and non-profits;

The provincial government has denied eligibility to arts organizations for gaming grants, which will have a direct loss to the Vancouver arts sector in excess of $4.5 million annually by 2012;

And Whereas this loss will directly cost jobs and severely and adversely affect Vancouver’s cultural life;

Therefore:

The Alliance for Arts and Culture endorses and fully supports the Petition of the BC Association for Charitable Gaming, asking the City of Vancouver to refuse any expansion of gambling until the Province of British Columbia honours its commitment to allocate 33 percent of net gaming revenues to charities and non-profits, or renegotiates that agreement in good faith;

I would like to encourage our members to pass similar resolutions at their own Boards and join the growing number of civil society organizations in the city in supporting this initiative. 

On behalf of the BC Association for Charitable Gaming, which represents any of us who have ever received a Gaming Grant, I ask for the following:

I ask for all member organizations of the Alliance in the City of Vancouver to:

1.    Put an equivalent motion forward to their boards, and notify us;

2.    Write to Vancouver Council advising of the motion from this link:  Blog | BC Association for Charitable Gaming <http://bcacg.com/news>;

3.    Disseminate the motion and the Open Letter to Coleman (LINK?) to memberships, asking for letters of support;

4.    Ask members, audiences, and such groups as are thought to be appropriate, to please sign the online petition here: Petition to Vancouver City Council to Support Charities and Non-Profits - Signatures <http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?bcacg99&1>

The online petition is very important.  Its success is having an impact.

I believe that supporting this initiative by the BCACG may be our best chance at achieving a resolution to this ongoing issue for civil society in BC, including arts and cultural organizations.

Amir Ali Alibhai

Executive Director

Alliance for Arts and Culture

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