Opinion

EDITORIAL: Gaming grant review valuable

It’s a good bet charities and non-profit groups are banking on good news coming out of a review on how the provincial government shares its revenue from gambling.

Premier Christy Clark announced a top-to-bottom assessment of the community gaming grant system, which provides $1 billion a year to the government coffers, yet leaves an air of uncertainty every year for affected groups applying for much-needed funding.

Once a share goes into general revenue, another to health and educational needs and another to the municipalities that host casinos, a small portion of the pie goes to valuable organizations that are already operating on shoestring budgets due to previous cuts.

This, while new casinos are proposed, existing ones contemplate expansion and more money is raked in every year.

At the very least, a review involving all stakeholders and showing how and where the money is allocated will prove educational for the government, providing a clear picture of the entire situation.

It is also an opportunity for Clark to live up to her leadership campaign promises of an open government that is listening to the needs of the people.

The review might not improve the lot for cultural groups and charities – there can be an argument made that investment in health care and education should take top priority – but at least they will have an opportunity to present their cases and show how millions of dollars in cuts have affected their ability to better their communities.

After all, another argument could just as easily be made that investing in the social health of a community is equally valuable and important as investing in frontline health care.

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