NDP blasts lottery corporation spending

Employee buyout program backfired, lottery tickets sold to minors, suspicious cash transactions in casinos doubled

NDP gambling critic David Eby

A financial review of B.C. Lottery Corp. put a sunny face on an organization that continues to waste money and have significant gaps in control of illegal activities, NDP gambling critic David Eby says.

Among the findings of the review were that BCLC costs have been rising faster than revenues from casinos and lotteries, four departing executives received 18 months severance pay regardless of their length of service, and a test of retailers found that 40 per cent of them sold lottery tickets to minors.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong released the report Wednesday in Kamloops, with BCLC board chair Bud Smith describing an overhaul of the corporation’s human resources department after a staff buyout program that was designed to save $6.6 million, but ended up costing $25 million.

The corporation offered early retirement and severance packages to employees aged 50 and older, expecting to eliminate 68 positions. The offer was accepted by 142 employees, and de Jong admitted that BCLC will have to hire more staff to fill some of the unexpected vacancies.

The program was “not a particularly shining example” of management, he said.

Eby also noted that since BCLC stopped paying for a dedicated RCMP group to investigate money laundering, suspicious cash transactions in B.C. casinos have doubled, “and to my knowledge there has not been a single charge at a B.C. casino related to money laundering.”

De Jong said the increase in reports to Ottawa of large cash transactions are in part due to a better system for detecting them.

“There are some big rollers out there who travel from Macao to Vegas to Vancouver, who are used to transacting their gaming in cash,” de Jong said.

Eby also highlighted an “employee recognition” program that paid out $217,000 last year in cash, gift cards and merchandise, and a catered corporate box at the Rogers Centre in Vancouver.

“This is money that is taken from hospitals, schools and public programs to pay for BCLC executives to go to Canucks games,” he said.

The audit also showed that BCLC’s venture into online poker and gambling, PlayNow.com, is bringing in only three per cent of the corporation’s revenues after five years of operation.

 

Just Posted

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

UPDATE: Chilliwack man arrested for Agassiz break and enters

Westin Ferguson, 19, faces charges relating to break and enters throughout Agassiz

Short closures on Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge during pier upgrades

The project comes before the major retrofit of the bridge, which has been in the works since 2017

Preliminary inquiry starts for Chilliwack woman charged in 2016 fatal hit-and-run

Linnea Labbee, 70, accused in Dec. 1, 2016 incident that killed 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read