We all know of the negative effects gambling can have on individuals and on society. However in our ceaseless quest to bring you the most relevant and interesting information, we would like to share how revenue from gambling in British Columbia is used to support community organizations. While most of the data was available from the province’s website, there were some inconsistencies that needed to be addressed as well as some organizing of the data before we could analyze it.
The BC Lottery Corporation
The BC Lottery Corporation conducts, manages and operates most commercial gaming in the province including casinos, lotteries, commercial bingo halls and community gaming centres. For the 2010/11 fiscal year, total revenue from commercial gaming in BC was $2.68 billion. After expenses, including prize payouts, total revenue to the government from gaming was $1.1 billion. Of this amount, about 60% is deposited into the province’s Consolidated Revenue Fund and the rest is allocated across various programs, communities and sectors of the economy.
How Gaming Benefits Community Organizations
We found two ways in which community organizations benefit directly from the gaming industry:
- Community organizations gain revenue by conducting independent gaming events.
- Community organizations receive provincial grants.
Of the government’s revenue from the gaming industry, approximately $135 million is distributed to community organizations each year. Grants distributed by the government account for 80% of total gaming revenue for charities, and earnings from independent gaming events represent the other 20%. Combining both grants and independent earnings, community organizations received $168.8 million in revenue from the gaming industry last year.
How is Revenue from Independent Gaming Activities Earned?
The distribution of revenue earned independently by community organizations from various gaming activities is illustrated below. Independent gaming activities include ticket raffles, which account for 89% of revenue, as well as bingos, casinos, poker and wheels of fortune.
Organizations apply for a license from BC’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch to conduct independent gaming events. More information on available licenses and application guidelines can be found here.
What Types of Organizations Receive what Distribution of Grants?
The provincial government distributes funds to programs that fall under one of the following categories: Arts and Culture, Sport, Environment, Public Safety, Human and Social Services, and Parent Advisory Councils and District Parent Advisory Councils (PACs and DPACs). PACs and DPACs exist to benefit students by enhancing extracurricular opportunities available to them. 50% of funds, approximately $67.2 million, were allocated to organizations in the Human and Social Services sector with a median grant amount of $24,000. This is down from $76.6 million in 2010/2011. Human and Social Services and PACs and DPACs are the only two sectors which have seen decreases in the amount of funds allocated. Organizations in the Public Safety sector tend to receive few grants but of large sums, accounting for 3% of the total number of grants with a median amount of $29,650. The distribution of grants across sectors is illustrated in the graphs below.
How are the Grants Distributed Geographically?
Each year over 5,000 grants are distributed to community organizations in 283 BC cities. The chart below provides an idea of the regional distribution of these funds. Approximately 59% of BC’s residents live in the Lower Mainland which receives 58% of the total gaming grant distribution.
To be eligible for a government gaming grant, the program being funded must fall under one of the above listed categories. Only programs which have been operating a minimum 12 months are eligible for government gaming grants. More information on eligibility and on how to apply can be found here.