+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 20-16F

Casino Opportunities for Charitable Organizations

Date:
November 16, 2016
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2019
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
County of Barrhead
District:
3 - Pembina River
Year:
2016
Convention:
Fall
Category:
Other
Status:
Accepted in Principle
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS there is a great need for charitable organizations to find ways to raise funds to maintain and expand their operations in Alberta for the good of the residents of the Province of Alberta; and

WHEREAS Alberta charitable organizations operating in small urban or rural communities are currently required to work in casinos outside of the two major urban municipalities within the province; and

WHEREAS these many charitable organizations must bear the additional costs of travel and accommodation for workers to staff the casinos in centers are further away from their home community; and

WHEREAS there is a large disparity between the funding provided to charitable organizations in major urban centers compared with charitable organizations in rural communities, with an average difference of $60,000; and

WHEREAS there is a large disparity in the frequency of opportunities available for charitable organizations in rural communities to raise funds through working in casinos;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to change Alberta’s charitable gaming model so as to provide equity to all charitable organizations in Alberta, by addressing the disparity between the funding provided, and the frequency of opportunities available to charitable organizations in major urban centers compared with those in rural communities.

Member Background:

For the past three years the inequity between how charitable organizations are treated in rural communities, both urban and rural, compared to those charitable organizations in major urban centers has been brought to the attention of the Provincial Government through the “Bear Pit” sessions at AAMDC Conventions.  This approach, in combination with letter writing campaigns by individual municipalities, has met with no success.  The inequities continue without change, though the Provincial Government has consistently stated that they and the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission are examining the problem and how best to resolve it.

The difficulties facing charitable organizations across Alberta are made worse by the slow economy we are currently experiencing.  Not only are there more needs in our communities because of high unemployment levels, it is also more difficult to raise funds through charitable donations both from individuals and from corporations.  Money is difficult to find, and the inequity in casino funding makes this problem even harder to deal with.  A positive change in how casino revenues and opportunities would provide extra funding to rural based charitable organizations at this critical time, and would do so without extra cost to the Provincial Government.

The inequities include the following:

  • Charitable organizations outside the two major urban centers incur additional travel and accommodation costs when working at the casinos. This extra cost is either borne by the individual volunteers, which is an onerous demand on people who may even have to take time from work in order to work at the casino.  Alternately, the cost may be borne by the organization itself, which reduces the amount of funding available for services to the communities.
  • There is a large disparity between the funding provided to charitable organizations in major urban centers compared with charitable organizations in rural communities, with an average difference of $60,000. The hockey clubs and public libraries across Alberta have service levels that are affected by this disparity.  With increased funding there could be increased services, lower user costs, or both.
  • There is a longer waiting period for charitable organizations in rural Alberta that want to raise funding through casino work. This makes the funding disparity even worse because it takes longer to receive those reduced funds.
RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Government Response:

Treasury Board and Finance: The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) acknowledges the ongoing challenges faced by charitable organizations in relation to the current charitable gaming model, as well as the efforts made by stakeholders to raise these concerns with government. The AGLC considers this issue a top priority among its current initiatives.

The AGLC has reviewed previous reports on charitable gaming in Alberta and recently conducted a new cross-jurisdictional assessment of charitable funding from gaming streams. Based on its research, the AGLC has confirmed that there is a need to address deficiencies in the effectiveness, integrity and sustainability of Alberta’s charitable gaming model. The AGLC is presently developing strategies to address the same.

The AGLC recognizes the importance of charitable gaming funding to organizations across the province and is committed to moving forward with changes in a timely manner. At the same time, the AGLC wants to ensure that any changes to the model provide not only immediate stakeholder benefits, but also long-term sustainability.

Justice and Solicitor General:  Alberta Justice and Solicitor General has no comment on the resolution because casino opportunities for charitable organizations are under the authority of Alberta Treasury Board and Finance (TBF).

Service Alberta: Service Alberta has no comment on the resolution because casino opportunities for charitable organizations are under the authority of TBF.

Development:

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) response indicates an acknowledgement that the current charitable gaming model is disadvantageous to charities operating in rural Alberta. RMA is pleased that the AGLC is planning to revise the current model and hopes to be a part of the process. As of early 2018, this review has not yet occurred. The RMA is currently in the process of forming a member committee to develop recommendations on how the model could be improved as per resolution 13-17F. As such, this resolution is assigned a status of Accepted in Principle and will be re-evaluated based on the outcomes of the RMA committee and when the review of the current model begins.

Provincial Ministries:
Justice and Solicitor General,
Service Alberta
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