Stop! Putting an End to Problem Gambling

We talked about pro poker on this week’s Day 6 and we even gave out a few tips to help you play a better game. But gambling online or in casinos, or playing the lottery or VLTs all can lead to serious problem gambling.

Statistics Canada says 6.3% of all Canadians are thought to be at-risk or problem gamblers.

The link below provides a list of gambling treatment centres in each province and territory in the country. There’s also treatment options for individual cities and towns. If you think you might have a gambling problem or if you’re seeking treatment for someone else, you’ll find the information useful.

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Grey machines´ arise from VLT clawback for Casino NB

Two non-profit clubs in Moncton have backed down on using unlicensed video lottery terminals and removed their machines after an ultimatum from the province.

The Air Force Veterans Club of Moncton decided to bring in unlicensed video lottery terminals in May 2013.

The club lost its legal Atlantic Lottery machines three years earlier when the $100-million Casino New Brunswick opened in Moncton. To help ensure the success of the casino, the number of VLT sites in the province were cut by more than 50 per cent, from 625 to 300. The number of machines was reduced by nearly 25 per cent, from 2,650 to 2,000.

‘You take away their machines, a place like this, they shouldn’t have done that.’
– Bob Leger
The Air Force Club was one of the legal sites to lose its Atlantic Lottery machines.

“You take away their machines, a place like this, they shouldn’t have done that,” said Bob Leger, who accompanied his veteran father to a lunch at the club this week. “Take them away from someone else, but not a place like this.

“They really need this,” said Leger. “You know, for the veterans.”

Reg Lebans
Reg Lebans doesn’t think the Air Force Club’s VLTs would have had much impact on Casino NB. (CBC)

When the machines disappeared, members, bar revenue, and the ability to give money back to the community went with them.

“The food banks, the Christmas Daddies, . . . . the hospitals,”” says spokesman Reg Lebans. “We were making $5,000 donations a year to both hospitals for a number of years.”

The Air Force Club turned to grey machines in May 2013. In eight months, the machines netted the club $28,000.

‘We weren’t letting people in off the street. I don’t think the Air Force Vets Club would hurt the casino.’
– Reg Lebans, Air Force Veterans Club spokesman
“What we were doing here was for our members,” said Lebans. “We weren’t letting people in off the street. I don’t think the Air Force Vets club would hurt the casino.”

But when the province issued its 72-hour ultimatum in December, the Air Force Club decided it had no choice but to remove its grey machines. The nearby Elks Club did the same thing.

Casino general manager Craig DeMarte says the casino is extremely concerned about illegal machines, but admits it is difficult to measure how much money the casino is losing to them.

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Broken water main closes Thunder Bay streets, casino

Thunder Bay city workers spent Monday morning attempting to fix a broken water main in the city’s north side.

Crews responded to water on the road in the Park Avenue and Cumberland Street area just before 8 a.m.

The water also flowed down to Water Street.

The break has created a slippery, slushy mess in the area, resulting in road closures.

Park Avenue is closed between Court Street and Water Street.

Water Street is also closed between Park Avenue and Bay Street.

The city says workers are still trying to determine where the break originated.

They have shut off water in the block bounded by Park Avenue, Red River Road, Court Street and Cumberland Street.

Thunder Bay’s OLG casino is closed until further notice.

There’s no word yet on how long the water will remain shut off, or how long the roads will remain closed.

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Downtown Casino

The big casino expansion at BC Place remains controversial. Today, the people behind the proposal tried to set the record straight. City watcher Frances Bula was at the event.

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REPLAY: Anti-casino activist at CBC Hamilton for live chat

CBC Hamilton hosted another webcast discussion on a proposed downtown casino on Friday afternoon.

Art gallery owner Graham Crawford spoke at Hamilton City Hall on Wednesday to voice his opposition to a downtown casino. (Supplied)

Anti-casino activist and art gallery owner Graham Crawford dropped by for a noon live chat. He talked about why he thinks a gaming facility in the city’s core would be harmful, and answered viewers’ question about his point of view.

The day before, businessman P.J. Mercanti explained his plans for a $200-million casino-hotel complex, and said that it would create good jobs and bring first-class entertainment to Hamilton’s downtown.

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Internet gambling divides casino industry

Many experts believe online wagering is the future of gambling, but the casino industry is increasingly divided on the issue.

The latest evidence of the split comes Monday as the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling launches the first commercial in a six-figure campaign warning of the dangers of legalized Internet gambling.

The group is supported by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands.

Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates numerous casinos and resorts, is one of the casino moguls who has come out against internet gambling and is supporting an ad campaign against it that launched this week. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Meanwhile, the casino lobby has made the legalization of online gambling its signature issue for the year. Major members, including Caesars Entertainment Corp., are taking steps to get into the market.

Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2020, online gambling in the U.S. will produce the same amount of revenue as Las Vegas and Atlantic City markets combined: $9.3 billion US.

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Detroit casino revenue down almost 5% in 2013

Detroit’s total gambling revenue slipped 4.7 percent to $1.35 billion (all funds US) last year, according to figures released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board on Tuesday.

The decline means Detroit will receive less revenue from gaming taxes, a key source of income for the bankrupt city. The three casinos took in $1.42 billion in 2012.

The falloff in revenue, occurring in a year when Detroit filed for bankruptcy even as its downtown and some nearby neighbourhoods showed signs of revival, was the steepest decrease since the first casinos opened in 1999.

While it is not yet known how much casino tax revenue came in to Detroit during the 2013 calendar year, the city took in $174.5 million in casino tax revenue in its 2012-2013 fiscal year which ended on June 30, a 3.8 percent decrease from the previous fiscal year, according to an August 2013 report to the Detroit City Council.

A spokesman for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Detroit filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. municipal history on July 18, saying it had more $18 billion in debt. A judge officially declared the city bankrupt in December.

Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said “it wasn’t a surprise at all” that revenue dropped, adding that the city has been following the revenue data closely.

“We’ve been reporting those revenue figures to the city of Detroit, and they’ve been watching them really close because obviously they’re in bankruptcy and they’re looking at all the areas where they generate revenue.”

“They’ve been on top of it,” he said.

Orr has said the casino tax revenue is the city’s most stable source of income. The revenue has been tied up since 2009 as collateral in a costly interest-rate swap deal that Detroit is fervently trying to end.

Last week U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, who is managing Detroit’s case, rejected a deal that would have seen the city end the swaps for $165 million, a price he called “too high.”

The gaming market has been relatively stagnant in recent years, said gaming analyst Jake Miklojcik, and increased competition from casinos in neighbouring Ohio and elsewhere in Michigan have drawn gamblers away from Detroit.

“If you’re not growing the market, you’re just fighting for the same patrons, which has some immediate value I suppose, but when new competition comes in you’re going to wane a little bit.”

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Edmundston lands gaming centre in new deal with Sonco

Sonco Gaming New Brunswick is entering into an agreement with the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation to provide gaming services in the northwestern city of Edmundston.

Sonco Gaming, the company that operates Casino New Brunswick in Moncton, will set up the new gaming facility at the Grey Rock Entertainment Centre, which is part of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation’s $13-million Grey Rock Power Centre.

“This project will allow for gaming entertainment to be provided in a region in New Brunswick that benefits from proximity to the borders of Quebec and Maine,” said Craig DeMarta, a Casino New Brunswick spokesperson.

“We believe this facility will complement our existing casino in Moncton which services the greater Moncton market and can pull in visitors from neighbouring jurisdictions as well.”

A Sonco statement indicated the agreement with the First Nation will begin with a smaller, temporary site designed to benefit from increased tourism traffic for events, such as the World Acadian Conference being held in the region starting on Friday.

There will be 20 jobs at the gaming facility during the World Acadian Conference and 150 full-time jobs when the centre is fully operating, according to Sonco.

The new gambling facility will require approval from the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corp.

“The two parties have agreed to a structure for the agreement, and the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corp. will support the development of new jobs and the development of regional markets outside the Casino New Brunswick area,” according to a Sonco Gaming statement.

Grey Rock will have 100 electronic gambling machines to start, but it will eventually be permitted to have 200 devices, including electronic table games. There will be no live table games, according to the company.

Sonco operates Casino New Brunswick in Moncton and holds the exclusive rights for casino activity in the province. The company said in a statement it has chosen to waive its exclusive operating rights in order to partner with the Grey Rock project.

The company estimates the Grey Rock facility will generate $8 million in revenue in the first year and $1.2 million will go to the provincial government.

“This deal has been structured so that the facility can earn a fair return on investment in addition to government receiving gaming revenue,” the Sonco statement said.

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Thunder Bay Casino workers vote in favour of new deal

Thunder Bay’s Casino will remain open this weekend, after workers approved a new agreement with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

About 80 percent of the union’s 180 casino employees voted Thursday on the tentative agreement, which United Steelworkers Union Local 1-2010 had recommended for acceptance.

Local union spokesperson Bruce Frost said 85 percent of the votes were in favour of the deal.

Frost said the union recommended the new agreement for a number of reasons.

Members will get an $800 signing bonus and will see a 1.75 percent increase in 2015, and benefits were improved or maintained.

“The reason we were promoting acceptance of it, was not because it was a rich agreement, but because facing the broader public sector and with the government’s austerity program in place, we didn’t think it was the time to be looking for big wage increases.” said Frost.

If workers hadn’t voted in favour of the agreement, Frost said, the OLG planned to lock out the casino workers on Saturday.

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Texan Sugar Water, Bring Your Kids to Work Day Ban, Nfld. Demands Apology, and a “No Gambling” Casino

This week: We talk to the utilities commissioner of a town in Texas that has put sugar into the water supply to encourage the residents to drink more water. We hit the streets to find out how you’re making out with your shopping. We talk to a Winnipeg man that is trying to ban ‘Bring Your Kids to Work Day’. Newfoundland MP Lyle Pender is petitioning the government to make all of the other Canadian provinces issue his province an official apology. We profile Canada’s first “no gambling” casino. Plus, we play your calls in reaction to the Kingston, Ontario mother who is trying to have Halloween regulated.

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