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

Help needed on restoration of historical cabin in the Shuswap

The Cache Cabin served as the halfway point on the journey to the Mara Lookout Ranger Station.

Two mudslides close Seymour Arm road in North Shuswap, no one injured

Slides hit Seymour Arm Main Forest Service Road halfway between St. Ives and Seymour Arm

Chance of showers and thunderstorm for Okanagan-Shuswap-Similkameen

Mostly cloudy day for the Okanagan-Shuswap and Similkameen regions

Lower lake levels could create bumper crop of invasive milfoil

The CSRD board received an update on efforts to suppress the invasive aquatic plant

Vernon and Sicamous cannabis stores get provincial nod

Spiritleaf in Vernon will be the Okanagan’s first cannabis store.

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Letter: Follow U.S. lead on biosolids

This past November in the U.S., the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) published… Continue reading

Crash near Okanagan elementary school investigated

RCMP officer watches driver hit concrete barrier and then fence at school

Trans event at Pride gives marginalized youth a community, says director

The Trans Youth March and Social participants rallied on Thursday, June 20.

Crews fight wildfire along Sea-to-Sky Highway

A cause has not been determined, although a downed power line is suspected

One Okanagan municipality has seen a crime increase in almost every statistical category, report says

Report states there were 617 offences in Lake Country in 2018; almost 100 more than 2017

“Our community has had its heart broken”: South Okanagan celebrates life of David Kampe

Community and families members who knew Kampe give tearful addresses

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Most Read