Canadian Province Ends Gambling Subsidies for Arts and Culture
Officials in British Columbia announced support for the arts and cultural events would no longer be funded by revenue from gambling. According to a statement by Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman, gamin g taxes will be used primarily for children's programs.
Over $120 million in annual grants had been funded by gambling resources, including online gambling operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. But a March decision to narrow the scope of the awards to exclude environmental groups, the arts, and culture and sports groups was adjusted to also bar grants to arts and music festivals, as well as non-profit events and museums.
Coleman asserted that many of the excluded events charge the public for participation, and don't need government backing.
But backers of the snubbed programs say the subsidies were a way for casinos and gaming to pay back debts created by the side effect social ills of gambling.
"The arts are a proper tonic to the social ill of gambling," said David Jordan of the Vancouver International Fringe Festival to the Vancouver Sun. The festival stands to l,ose over $70,000 in gambling money under the new policy.
Gaming resources in the Canadian province have seen revenues decline during the global recession, but the introduction of online casino games and the prospect of a unified Canadian Internet gambling network seem likely to more than offset losses at land casinos.
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