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WHEREAS there is a great need for charitable organizations in Alberta to raise funds to maintain and expand their operations for the good of all Albertans; and
WHEREAS there is a large disparity between the frequency and quality of funding opportunities available to rural charitable organizations compared with charitable organizations in major urban communities; and
WHEREAS the challenges of rural charitable organizations regarding access to casinos and the distribution of proceeds from casinos have been under formal review since at least 2009 with limited progress; and
WHEREAS in 2017, the membership of Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) approved a resolution directing RMA to establish an advisory committee to provide recommendations for reforming Alberta’s charitable gaming model so that funding is more equitably distributed among rural and urban charitable organizations; and
WHEREAS in 2019, the RMA advisory committee submitted their report and recommendations, which were endorsed by the RMA Board of Directors, to the Government of Alberta; and
WHEREAS in 2019, the Government of Alberta undertook a new round of engagement on the charitable gaming model; and
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has still not released any recommendations for changes to the model based on the engagement process or on the input provided by the RMA;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate to the Government of Alberta and Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis to reform Alberta’s charitable gaming model to provide equity to all charitable organizations in Alberta, by addressing the disparity between the funding provided, and the frequency of casino opportunities available to charitable organizations in major urban centers compared with those in rural communities.
Alberta’s nineteen casinos are divided into ten regions for the purposes of charitable gaming. Organizations across the province are assigned to a casino in closest proximity to their location. Because charitable organizations are not distributed equally across the province, some regions host many more charitable organizations than others. For charitable organizations, this results in unequal wait times between casino events among charitable organizations in different regions. As charitable organizations only receive revenue when they “work” a casino, an inequity exists related to how often charitable organizations in various areas of the province have this revenue-generating opportunity.
The following table outlines the wait times and revenues each casino region received in 2019.
|Casino Region||2019 Wait Time for Key Events (Months)||2019 Annualized Return (product of wait times and proceeds)|
While waiting period is a critical aspect of equitability in the casino gaming system, it tells only half the story. The per-event revenue generated varies widely among regions as well. Some casinos are more popular than others, and this is reflected in how much money is raised at casino events in various regions. Casinos within Edmonton and Calgary generate significantly more revenue on a per event basis than those elsewhere in the province.
Both waiting period and per event proceeds tell a partial story of how casino proceeds vary by region. However, to understand the full scope of how regions compare to one another, these measures must be combined. To do this, the AGLC uses “annualized proceeds,” which are a calculation of the estimated proceeds per year that an organization within a region would receive. This measure is effective as it combines the waiting period and the proceeds per event into a single factor. It is important to note that annualized proceeds is a hypothetical measure. It looks at how much money a charity would receive in a single year within their region if proceeds were distributed in this manner. It is important to note that proceeds are not actually distributed in this way. In reality, organizations receive the average per event proceeds from the quarter in which they volunteered at a casino event. Using annualized proceeds, there is a significant gap between the high-revenue Edmonton and Calgary regions, and the other regions in the province.
RMA and other stakeholders have previously proposed changes to the charitable gaming model to lessen the impacts of these regional differences which would result in charitable organizations across the province receiving a more similar level of financial benefit for the same amount of volunteer work. To this point, the Government of Alberta has not been receptive to making changes to the current boundaries and distribution of revenues across the province. This resolution would direct RMA to continue to advocate for change on this issue.
In 2019, RMA released the final report of its charitable gaming committee, which included a series of principles that should guide the development of a more equitable charitable as well as several specific recommendations as to how the model should be reformed. Later in 2019, AGLC conducted a stakeholder review of the model, which included participation by RMA. Unfortunately, the AGLC’s “what we heard” report from the engagement did not indicate serious consideration of any of RMA’s recommendations or other potential approaches to create a more equitable model.