Friday, February 17, 2006

Abetting Addiction

Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich--something for nothing. George Bernard Shaw

The state in Alberta is addicted to gambling and the proftis from gambling which putrevenues into the governments coffers equivalent to other business, oil, gas and personal taxes.
Gambling produces over $1-billion dollars annually in profits for the Province of Alberta

This gambling boom has translated into a windfall of revenue flowing to provincial government coffers. In crafting the 1999-2000 budget, the Alberta government projects that lottery revenue will total $770 million. This lottery revenue comes from video lottery terminals (VLTs), slot machines, and ticket lotteries only and it does not include other gambling revenues, such as licensing fees or income to non-profit organizations derived from horse racing, bingos, raffles, or charitable casino gambling. To place this in perspective, the estimated $770 million in lottery revenue compares with $1.1 billion collected annually from school property taxes, $690 million from health care insurance premiums, $570 million from fuel taxes, $452 million from liquor taxes, $350 million from tobacco taxes, and $346 million from crude oil royalties. Fully 4.5% of Alberta's estimated budget of $17 billion is expected to come from lottery revenues and this compares with 37% from combined personal and corporate income taxes and 14% from all natural resource revenues.EJGI:Policy:Gambling on the Edge in Alberta

And we have Premier who is also addicted. Just like he is to booze and smoking.

And with the Ralph Reich we have seen the government download its responsibilities to charities, who have become addicted to gambling revenues because of the states failure to provide adequate funding for them.

In fact privatization of gambling in Alberta coincided, not coincidentally, with the down turn in the economy in the eighties, and as a result of its success a new form of mass gambling was introduced,VLT's in the ninties. As the Klein government created a debt and deficit hysteria to justify reducing funding to the public sector it increased reliance on VLT's.

Wide spread success of the VLTs and expansion of privatized gambling was part of the governments overall privatization of public services strategy, whatever could be sold off or privatized was.
History of Gaming in Alberta

Indeed every single school and hospital in Alberta relies on
lotteries, casinos and bingo's to top up funding . These were once the pervue of the Non-profit's, arts groups, community leagues, boy scouts and girl guides. Now gambling is used to offset government funding shortfalls.

Alberta is Canada's gambling hotbed. Nine out of ten adult Albertans gamble on some form of legally-sanctioned "game" and this province has the distinction of having the widest array of gaming entertainment options available to its citizenry of any jurisdiction in North America. Even the kids are getting into the act as seven out of ten adolescents age 12 to 17 have gambled for money, either on a legal game or informally with family or friends (Wynne, Smith, & Jacobs, 1996).EJGI:Policy:Gambling on the Edge in Alberta

But then the individuals who are addicted to gambling, in many cases to VLT's the real problem in the industry,have seen little in the way of help from the Alberta government. And that does not include lottery tickets, or horse racing (which gets tax subsidies from the government because ex Premier Don Getty was a racing owner and enthusiast).

A Canada West Foundation study on gambling in Canada released on June 21, 2005 is alarming but not surprising. The study found that governments took in over $12.7 billion from gambling last year. It pointed to a big difference between how much Canadians report they are spending on gambling and what the actual figures show. Reported annual household spending was $272, yet the average spending level was four times higher, at $1,080. The Canada Safety Council suggests that very high losses by pathological gamblers may account for much of this discrepancy.Gambling problems risk further neglect
What is also interesting is that the debt incurred from gambling corresponds to the decline in savings that is occuring. Money is being spent on gambling that in the past would have been saved and earning interest, a far surer bet.

Alberta has an increasing gambling addiction problem. Until now. The Alberta government has come up with a solution for gambling addicts.

Problem gamblers to get help in casinos
CBC News - 14 hours ago
The province, in an attempt to stem a growing addiction problem, is putting treatment centres in select casinos. The first such centre opened Thursday at the Palace Casino in West Edmonton Mall.
Addictions staff posted in casino Edmonton Journal
Problems gamblers find help on site CBC Edmonton
StarPhoenix - Edmonton Journal - Calgary Sun - all 8 related »

Yep its the Alberta way. And you don't lose any of that gambling money the government is addicted to. I wonder what brilliant genius thought this up.

It makes as much sense as putting alcohol addictions counsellors in bars. Now come to think of it.....This is the prefect solution for King Ralph....this has got to be the dumbest idea yet.....

But it does little for the real source of gambling addiction; VLT's which this supposed solution does not address, because VLT's are in every corner bar and hotel. These are the real source of the states wealth because the games are rigged. You can't play for losing.

Gambling policy designed to create losers
Albertans are being swindled while the province rakes in the money

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i appreciate that casino's and other gambling companies take advantage of the weakness people have for gambling however, they have procedures to ban people from betting!
also there are so many online gambling opportunities the addicts will always be able to bet if they want to! they must cure the problem, instead of attempting to simply prevent!
i myself only play online bingo games, some dont see this as gembling but it is. i wouldnt say i have a problem becuase i could stop tomorrow!