Gaming grant oversight needs overhaul, A-G finds

Review of B.C.'s $135-million gaming grant fund shows gap in how government measures performance.

When it comes to gaming grants in B.C., the province has a “suitable framework” in place to manage this program but improvements are needed, says B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer.

Her office reviewed the provinces $135 million gaming grant fund and found a gap in how the government measures the program’s performance.

“Greater information is needed to allow stakeholders, like communities and non-profits themselves, to see the successes of the program, and to better understand how well this program is being managed,” the report says.

Recommendations in the report include improving how the government advertises one-time gaming grants, how gaming grant recipients are chosen and awarded, and how the province monitors where the grant money goes.

Despite requiring applicants to report how the money is spent, a number of recipients would receive funding the next year even if they hadn’t submitted a report on prior funding, the report showed.

“We recognize that many organizations depend on this funding,” Bellringer said. “But $135 million is a lot of money to give out without this kind of information.”

Updating the application’s guidelines is also recommended, Bellringer said.

“Ministry staff assesses grant applicants against the program guidelines but the guidelines need clarifying and updating.”

In 2013 to 2015, about 400 to 450 groups did not get the amounts requested in gaming funds, according to the report. However, about 75 per cent applied for reconsideration and received the requested amounts.

Having a more efficient program that made it easier for charities to only need to apply one time “would be ideal,” Bellringer said.

Reassessing the entire gaming grant structure was also suggested, which would look at whether the $135 million is enough, Bellringer added.

When the recession hit in 2008, the B.C. Liberal government cut grant funding from the B.C. Lottery Corporation from $156 million to $113 million, then raised it back to $120 million to restore funds to school district parent advisory councils. It was increased to the current amount in 2011.

When asked if there’s a chance community groups could see a bigger chunk of gaming revenue being used for this gaming grant fund, Premier Christy Clark said all recommendations of the auditor general is being considered.

“What I said when I was running for leader is that we need to get the gaming grants, that are so beneficial for arts and culture in communities, back up to previous levels. We have done that. I think it’s the highest it’s ever been now. So that was a promise made, promise kept,” Clark said.

See the full report here.

With files from Tom Fletcher/Black Press.


@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

BC Budget’s Top 10 promises the North Coast will care about

BC Ferry fare reductions, Indigenous language investments, rent support for seniors

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Mills Memorial Hospital financing formula released

Regional taxpayers to pay $113.7 million for new facility.

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Most Read