Thursday, August 20, 2009

Liberals shed principles in online betting binge

The news that the government will expand online gambling so people can lose $10,000 a week will hardly help the Liberals fight charges of duplicity.
Their handling of the gambling file has been inept, unprincipled and frequently dishonest.
Gordon Campbell and the party fiercely opposed expanded gambling in opposition. They pledged to halt gambling expansion in the 2001 campaign, citing damage to families and communities.
Then they did the opposite, launching a push to get slot machines into large and small communities - all while pretending they weren't expanding gambling.
The latest move to encourage people to bet and lose more online is sleazy and dangerous.
When the Liberals introduced online gambling in 2004, they started small. Then solicitor general John Les said the B.C. Lotteries' offering would be limited to sports betting and playing the lotteries.
And, Les pledged, people would be protected because they would be limited to losing $70 in any one-week period. "I think we're taking measures to ensure that people can't go overboard," he said. "I think we're being entirely responsible."
When the gambling was expanded to include "interactive games" - kind of an online VLT - the weekly limit was raised to $120.
Now B.C. Lotteries is chasing the big bucks. Gamblers can transfer $10,000 per week into their accounts - half-a-million dollars a year in potential losses
I understand that the province is desperate for money. And certainly, policies can change over time.
But the Liberals' opposition to gambling was, supposedly, based on principle. Those are supposed to endure.
Kevin Krueger said gambling expansion was immoral and would lead directly to family break-ups, domestic violence and even murder. Campbell took a similar position. "I want to build an economy based on winners, not losers, and gambling is always based on losers," he said. "The only way government makes money on gambling is because you lose it."
But since the Liberals were elected, they have been working to create more gamblers in B.C. and to lift even more money from each one of them.
Campbell's promise to halt gambling expansion turned out to a joke. There were 10 casinos with 2,400 slot machines when the Liberals were elected. Today, there are more than 10,000 VLTs in 31 gambling halls.
The Liberals have introduced Internet gambling, alcohol and ATMs in casinos and bigger bets and longer hours.
And created a lot more losers. The province's gambling take has more than doubled to a forecast $1.2 billion - more than the revenue from forestry or natural gas royalties.
The gambling binge meant more people were damaged. The B.C. Medical Association reported on addictions in the province earlier this year. It found research indicates 33,000 British Columbians have a severe gambling problem. That number more than doubled between 2002 and 2005, as the government rapidly expanded gambling. Another 128,000 people have a moderate gambling problem. (By comparison, 33,000 people have problems with illicit drugs.)
B.C. Lotteries' plans each year include targets for recruiting new gamblers, increasing the proportion of the population who bet and increasing the amount the average amount each person loses. The corporation's goal for this year is more than $560 in losses per adult British Columbian.
Many people don't gamble at all. To make that target, the government needs some serious losers.
Which leads back to online gambling and the new opportunity to lose $10,000 a week.
Online gambling creates a greater risk of addiction and destructive behaviour. The opportunity is always there. The "games" are designed to keep the gambler going, creating the illusion that he has some control over the outcome.
"Internet gambling is as addictive, if not more addictive, than other forms of gambling," Liberal MLA Ida Chong said in opposition.
Now, she, like her peers, is silent on the wild growth of government online gambling in B.C. You can argue that people should be free to gamble as they like and suffer whatever disasters result.
But Campbell, Krueger, Chong and the Liberals promised something better.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul, don't you know... The BC Liberals are expanding gambling to protect us from ourselves.

"I felt that if there were more people in British Columbia that were making the choice to go offshore into unregulated markets that it would be better for them if they were actually in a regulated market." - Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development - a.k.a. The Gambling Minister.

Norman Farrell said...

I believe they do not allow $10,000 to be deposited. That requires reporting aimed at preventing money laundering. So, in the spirit of that solid public purpose, the maximum one can deposit is $9,999.99.

Their original promise to not expand gaming was not merely an election promise ignored. It was confirmed in the 2002 Speech from the Throne, spoken by Iona Campagnolo but written by the Great Deceiver.

http://northerninsights.blogspot.com/2009/08/broken-promises.html

DPL said...

Gordo needs the percentage the government gets from gambling. He could care less about problem gamblers, he wants the cash for his visions

Anonymous said...

I've asked you before, Paul, just what "principles" of the Liberals are you referring to?

French writer Jules Renard alluded to people just like them when he said "I am not sincere even when I am saying that I am not sincere".

Raymond

Leah said...

One would have to have principles before they could be shed.

'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Really the Liberals should just turf gambling all together; that way people like Wilcocks don’t have to waste their time writing editorials like this. Gamblers can instead waste their money elsewhere and instead of that money going back into BC Government coffers it can go somewhere else. This way gaming funds can get cut back as a result and non profits will feel the squeeze. Once this happens NDPaul can write about those nasty Campbell Liberals and their nasty cutbacks to non profits.

Norman Farrell said...

So Anonymous 10:29, who wrote this:

Speech from the Throne
Iona Campagnolo, Lieutenant Governor
Thirty-seventh Parliament of British Columbia
February 12, 2002

My government vowed to stop the expansion of gambling that has increased gambling addiction in our province and put new strains on families.

Norman Farrell said...

Paul certainly was correct saying that Liberals shed their principles. The only thing in dispute is timing. However, some here make the point that you cannot lose principles if you never had any. That seems to apply to the Liberals' Dear Leader.

Anonymous said...

Yes be principled and have that online gaming money go to somewhere else other than B.C. Are some of you really so na├»ve to think that an online gambler will quit just because he can’t do so on the BC Lotteries website? You people are delusional the gambler will just go to another online gaming site and when they do they money leaves B.C and all of the non profits in turn loose those gaming funds. Not to mention some of those other sites may not be regulated and who knows what else.

NDP’ers never were a bright lot and this Blog is solid proof.

Norman Farrell said...

Was that a misprint or were Liberals lying in 2001 when they promised that growth in gaming would stop to protect families strained by easily accessible gambling? Or perhaps they discovered new research that gaming strengthens families.

If loss of potential revenue is the deciding factor, when will the Liberals begin marketing prostitution, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and all those other similar potential money generators?

Ah yes, Liberals are the party of business, whatever the business.

Anonymous said...

Mr Campbell said,

"I want to build an economy based on winners, not losers, and gambling is always based on losers..."

which, in a prescient and typically back-handed BC Liberal manner, correctly asserts that BC voters would gamble on a responsible and ethical political party to lead this province - and lose.

If there's so much as a whiff of a BC Liberal anywhere in British Columbia after the next election (assuming there's anyone here at all), the voters of this province should be strung up.

Anonymous said...

I checked the BC Lottery Corp website and they have now increased the weekly limit to $9,999 per week. Below is a quote from the BCLC website.

What is a Weekly Transfer-In Limit?
The Weekly Transfer-In Limit is the maximum amount (set by you) that you will be able to transfer from your credit card, debit card or bank account into your PlayNow Wallet during a seven day period.
The Transfer does not take place automatically.
You may transfer up to $9,999 per week into your PlayNow.com accounts and set your own play limits at any dollar amount within that threshold.

bcwatch said...

How did the scum get elected anyway? There must be electoral fraud in BC... of course the NDP aren't much better, but I don't believe they were actually as criminal.

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