What has BCACG done for charities? Here is a history of our activities since our inception in 1997:
March 26, 1997 – 12 Charity reps from around the province were nominated to be part of the Lottery Advisory Committee. The reps were Shirley Hewitt of Williams Lake, Martha Te Hennepe of Abbotsford, Randall St. Godard of Burnaby, Lou Hildford of Vancouver, Larry Arychuk of Coquitlam, Betty Gilbert of Delta, Don MacKay of Cranbrook, Claire Wilkins of Vernon, Henk Bekkering of Prince George, Wendy Smitka of Nanaimo, Dave Allen of Victoria, and Richard Barkwill of Kelowna.
April 10, 1997 – Government and BCLC disclosed their game plan for the expansion of gaming. We knew then charities were going to have to fight for survival.
June 1, 1997 – BCACG set up a temporary office to communicate with charities around the province to keep them posted on what was happening in Gaming.
Sept 1997 – We presented a draft constitution to charities from around the province at our first General Meeting in Burnaby and had it ratified so we could proceed with registering as a society.
October 24, 1997 – We became a registered society in the Province of BC.
From September to November - We ran our first election for directors that would represent all areas and Gaming jurisdictions (Bingo, Casino and Raffle) in the Province.
Summer and fall of 1997 – Many meetings were held with representatives of the Provincial Government and The BC Lottery Corp. As a result of the negotiations a guarantee was established to guarantee continued funding to Charities and non-profits (1) The facility top-up would ensure that all Bingo Charities would continue to receive the same revenue per session as they did in 1995-96 or 1996-97 which ever was greater (2) casino access groups would receive the balance. The guarantee for 1997-98 was 110 million, and 1998-99 was increased to 118 million. The increase each year is according to the Vancouver CPI, to be distributed to charities either through Bingo or Direct access. We felt the guarantee would be necessary to protect charities from the negative impact slot machines would have on Bingo.
November 1, 1997 – the Charity Trust was set up. The trust was to be administered by Lottery Advisory committee officials and BCACG. The Charitable fund would have funds deposited from Bingo and Casino throughout the month and by the 15 of the following month charities would receive their guaranteed amount and the remainder would go to Government. The purpose of the Trust was to provide funds to Charities, BCACG and the Province.
December 7, 1997 – the first meeting of the elected BCACG Board was held in Richmond.
January 14, 1998 – the Trust Fund ended as a result of a court challenge that declared all proceeds of Gaming belonged to Charities. As a result of this decision the Trust was frozen and Charities failed to get their December money on January 15, 1998.
January 1998 – We went to court on behalf of charities to request the December and January charity funds be released. The result was Charities got their December funds before the end of January and January funds by February 15.
February 1998 – The Minister responsible for Gaming asked Frank Rhodes to meet with the stockholders of the industry and prepare a report for the Honorable Mike Farnworth. The report was titled “Gaming Policy Recommendations.” Representatives from the BCACG board participated in a series of meetings with Mr. Rhodes and insisted that charities did not want community chest and recommended all gaming should remain under 207(1)b of the Criminal Code.
February 24, 1998 – we met with Gaming Minister Mike Farnsworth at which time he indicated that government was seeking an interim model, which would provide an opportunity to establish a gaming act. We advised him that we were not supporting any of the Frank Rhodes models. That after our Provincial meeting March 7, 1998 we would make a submission of a proposed model that would benefit all charities.
March 7, 1998 – we held a provincial meeting at which time we had the largest attendance ever (nearly 300 charity reps) at a charity meeting and set the guiding principles for the future of gaming in the Province.
April 9, 1998 – Casino Gaming was placed under Section 207(1)A of the Criminal code. Thus the birth of Direct Access. This was not good news for charities. Future participation in Casino Gaming ended.
A new trust was set up to commence July 1, 1998, which would permit the flow of charitable funds from the Casinos revenue. These funds would be deposited to the trust for the Bingo top-up and Direct access requests. There would be 7 trustee’s 4 appointed from the charity sector by BCACG, 1 from the BCGC and two from the Gaming Secretariat. BCACG nominated Mo Gannon from Prince George, Elise Clark from Kelowna, Muriel Ferrari from Burnaby and Linda Clarkson from Mill Bay.
August 1998 – BCACG on behalf of charities opposed BCLC’s claim of 3.5 million dollars against the trust funds for expenses. We were successful and the remainder of the money is to be distributed to charities. This was a result of the Honorable Justice Bauman’s decision on October 8, 1998.
April 1999 – Mike Farnsworth announced the guarantee for 1999-2000 would be 125 million, which would adjust for the GST.
June 17, 1999 – BCACG entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Government of which it was signed by Robert MacInnes and the Honorable Mike Farnsworth. John Ranta on behalf of UBCM also signed an agreement on behalf of municipalities with the Minister.
Early September 1999 – BCACG met with the B.C. Gaming Commissioners and asked for a change to the late and no show policy for Bingo Charities. The main issue was the punishment was the same whether you were late or a no show. Considering the seriousness of being a no show we suggested a difference in the penalty for the two.
It was also felt that Bingo Association assume some responsibility in keeping their members informed and meeting with each offender to be sure they were aware of the consequences. Our recommendations were accepted.
The last week of September through to the end of the first week in November 1999, BCACG conducted our “The Voice of Charities Tour,” making 20 stops around the Province to talk to charities and get input on current issues. The main focus was the Governance-Dual licensing model and cutting of Service clubs from Direct access.
BCACG on behalf of charities made a submission to the Commissioners with respect to the Dual Licensing and Governance model as well as Direct Access and service clubs. We had a few meetings with BCGC and Service clubs to ensure that they did not lose any access to Direct access when Bingo was not available.
October 1999 Saw closure to the court case re charity funds and we had the balance of 33.5 million disbursed to organizations. It was a long road from January 14, 1998. But BCACG, working on behalf of the organizations, kept expenses minimal and most of the money along with interest (except for the money from the casino trusts from which no interest was received) was released to the groups involved.
December 20, 1999 – BCACG and BCGC staff met to discuss the concerns of charities with Licensing, access, the appeal process and access for service clubs. It discussed the needs of charities and the need to improve communication.
Jan 15, 2000 – The BCACG board met with Peter Meekison to address the concerns that charities would lik to see addressed in his report to the Minister.
February 1, 2000 – We met with Joan Smallwood, Minister responsible for Gaming, to receive copies of the Meekison report and discuss the report with her. She said the primary focus would be to introduce a Gaming act in the spring Legislature.
February 11, 2000 – Met with Don Chaisson and Derek Sturko at the Gaming Secretariat. Derek is the new executive director of the Gaming Secretariat.
May 2000 – Betty Gilbert was appointed to the Minister’s Advisory Committee which was set up to finalize a Gaming control act for the Minister Joy McPhail. We met monthly until November 2000 when Joan Smallwood returned as the Minister. We had hoped the Gaming Control Act would be passed before the election but chances of that now look slim.
April 7, 2001 Our AGM Was held in Burnaby, with a well versed panel of Guest Speakers who gave some very mind evoking insights into the operations and objectives of the particular facet of Charitable Gaming that came under their jurisdiction. The speakers were Merv Romilly, Chairman of the Board BC Lottery Corp, Vic Poleschuk, President BC Lottery Corp, Derek Sturko, EX Dir Gaming Policy Secretariat, Ian Batey, EX Dir of GAIO, Carl Bolton, Deputy Director of GAIO, Ray Parks, Ex. Dir BC Gaming Commission and Reece Wrightman Regional Manager BC Gaming Commission Lower Mainland.
May 16, 2001 A new government was elected, and the rumours began. We at BCACG were determined to change those things we could, accept those things we couldn’t. It was quickly determined by our board that we would put together a committee. This was headed by Betty Gilbert, with backup from several directors thus enabling us to have consistent leadership while at the same time drawing on the broad experience of our board.
June 2001 By this time our newsletter had advised members that through communications with our charities addressing their personnel concerns, we began a round of meetings pleading charities’ case. At this time the main issues to be addressed were: (1) Capital projects (2) Service Clubs community projects (3) Changing rules for ticket raffles (4) The Gaming appeal process (5) Bingo Facility level top-up (6) Rules for PAC groups purchasing equipment through their school districts and (7) Long delays in processing Direct Access applications and the lack of information regarding whether applications had been received, accepted as filed and ready to be processed.
July & August 2001 Throughout the summer months Betty Gilbert, usually accompanied by one or more of her committee members, had several meetings with different members of the BC Gaming Commission and the Minister of Gaming or his staff. Our meetings became increasingly focused and our suggestions more challenged by the ministry which at least encouraged us by virtue of the fact that the ministry seemed to be listening. When the “other shoe dropped” and Bingo Gaming became a part of the BC Lottery Corp under 207(1)a of the Criminal Code, this was an enormous loss for bingo charities. Gaming legislation has been promised in the spring and we have a great deal of work ahead to ensure that our future is enshrined in the Act.
October & November 2001 During these months, Betty Gilbert continued to attend meetings with her committee. Betty Gilbert was appointed as part of the Bingo Transition Advisory and the Operational Advisory Committee and she attended many local meetings consulting with charities.
December 20, 2001 Christmas came early in the form of a news release from the Honorable Rich Coleman in which he announced the following changes: (1) Gaming revenues can be used for Capital Projects (2) Service Groups can donate more than $1000.00 to Community Projects without requiring permission each time (3) Removed the cap on how much a group may raise in a year through ticket raffles (4) Geographical restrictions on sales and advertising raffles lifted (5) Will extend Bingo Licenses from 2 to 3 years and (6) Will streamline the application process for Gaming Funds. All of these are issues that BCACG addressed on your behalf, and we are extremely pleased to have won these concessions for charities. Our experienced and responsible approach to representing members paid dividends. We still have a long way to go and we still need your input as well as your support.
January 15, 2002 It was a tremendous task to have a policy manual written and adopted by the industry, as well as the interim operators’ contracts signed by January 15, 2002. Thanks to BCLC and the Operational Advisory Committee this feat was accomplished.
April 8, 2002 Honourable Rich Coleman, Solicitor General and Minister responsible for Gaming spoke at our AGM. Copies of minutes available with the highlights of his speech.
April 9, 10 & 11, 2002 Attended the Canadian Gaming Conference in Regina and joined a panel with representation from Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan and we gave a brief background of each of our models and then answered questions from the audience.
May 2002 Attended the AGM of the Ontario Charity Association and along with Alan Dyck of Bingo Country and Bill Sidhu BCLC did a presentation on the BC bingo Model and also heard Ontario and Quebec speak to their Charitable Bingo Gaming models.
December 3, 2002 Betty Gilbert along with Lynn Moran, Ex Dir of AMSSA, Joyce Gram from the BC Confederation of School PAC’S, Eliza Olson, President of the Burns Bog Society, and Lori Baxter, Ex Dir Vancouver Cultural Alliance met with Derek Sturko, General Manager of GPEB and Sue Thomas, Policy Analyst of GPEB to discuss proposed changes to the Direct Access Policy.
March 10 to 12, 2003 Betty Gilbert attended the Canadian Gaming Summit in Ottawa and chaired a panel with representative from Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia that discussed “Bingo – Avoiding conflicts”
April 1, 2003 After great consultation the new policies for Direct Access were introduced and most of the changes that we asked for on behalf of charities were obtained.
May 2003 A new BCACG Board was elected and a new president headed our organization Dr. Siegfried Erb along with a new Vice president Jim Wortley. The energy and resources they have brought to the organization is over whelming and a delight to those they have assisted already.
May & June 2003 Meetings with Derek Sturko and Sue Thomas from the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch and ticket raffle representatives to work through policy changes to ticket raffle operations. We also went over the advertising and Marketing Standards for the BC Gambling industry at our June meeting.
September 25 to 27, 2003 BCACG’s first Symposium welcomed attendees from across Canada and the USA. Keynote speaker was Derek Sturko, Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch General Manager.
November 14, 2003 Meeting Derek Sturko, Sue Thomas and Peter Homenuk from the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch with members of the BCACG board and Betty Gilbert to discuss charitable gaming issues and changes implemented this past year and future concerns.
February 13, 2004 Betty Gilbert attended a “Responsible Gambling Forum” hosted by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch with discussions focusing on Public awareness and Prevention and Responsible Gambling Strategies/Managing Risk. Several organizations from BC, as well as BCLC & GPEB personnel attended joined by Dr. John Kelly (Ontario), Rob Simpson (Ontario), Bev Mehmel (Manitoba), Louise Smith (Ontario), Beth MacGillivray (Nova Scotia) and Elizabeth Stephenson (Manitoba). Speakers for BC were Derek Sturko (GPEB), Jane Burke (BC Provincial Problem Gambling Coordinator) Dr. Colin Campbell ( who has studied Canadian Gaming Policy development for 20 years) and Gail White (BCLC).
March 22, 2004 Betty Gilbert attended the bingo round table in Edmonton, the main focus of which was how each model of bingo gaming was working in the various provinces. Alberta and Ontario are looking at electronic gaming in bingo halls but want bingo to remain in the jurisdiction of the charities 207(1) B of the Criminal code. The provincial organizations of each province shared what is working or not working in their provinces.
March 23 & 24, 2004 Betty Gilbert attended the Canadian Gaming conference in Edmonton. The conference offered a varied section of sessions in Bingo and Casino with each province detailing its “ Responsible Gaming” Initiative. George Sweeney, BC Lottery Corp Vice President for Bingo, and Ron Ko, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Director of Bingo both spoke. The message was: Mandate, Partnership, Community, Brand and Vision are the steps both provinces are taking to achieve their goals.
May 3 & 4, 2004 Betty Gilbert attended the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association Conference. The theme was “looking forward”. Betty Spoke to the Ontario charities on the pros and cons of the BC model for charities. Ontario’s model is different to ours in that each municipality licenses the organizations for Bingo in their jurisdiction. We heard the Break Open Ticket and Development Fund Working Group status report as well as the Current Trends and issues with their Mega Lotteries.
September 30, 2004 Betty Gilbert met with Ursula to discuss the process for sport groups to license their 50/50 draws on line. The groups have had great success in getting their “B” raffle licenses approved online, often within 8 hours. The licensing department is to be congratulated on how simple and quick it has made the process for charities.
September 30 & October 1, 2004 BCACG 2nd Annual Symposium was well attended with many great speakers present.
October 20, 2004 A number of Hospital Auxiliary representatives met with Betty Gilbert and Ursula Cowland, Director of GPEB Licensing, to discuss a letter they had received suggesting their projects did not qualify for gaming revenue. The end result was positive. They will continue to receive gaming funds and Ursula discussed with them what they may use the money for.
April 8, 2005 Charitable Gaming meeting regarding policy and Guideline changes at the Waterfront Centre.
May 2 and 3, 2005 Betty Gilbert attended Ontario Charitable gaming conference to hear what Ontario plans for charities when electronic Bingo is put onto the Ontario halls by the Ontario Lottery Corporation
May 31, 2005 Justice Bauman accepted the recommendations for the final disbursement of funds from the Charitable trust going back to January 1998. This was as a result of an audit that showed there were funds sitting that had not been disbursed.
July 22, 2005 Met with Derek Sturko and Staff to discuss changes to policy and guidelines for Bingo and Direct Access. Three requests: (1) grant bingo affiliation certificates for 5 years (2) Grant direct Access funds for 3 year and (3) a cost of living adjustment to the 135 million charity share for 2006-07 that would see our share increased to approximately 138 million.
August 19, 2005 Met with Derek Sturko and staff to finalize our requests from July meeting and make our recommendations for changes.
September 29 & 30, 2005 A very successful Gaming Symposium with the following speakers: the Honourable John Les (Minister responsible for Gaming), Harold Steves (Richmond Councillor), Derek Sturko (Deputy Minister and General Manager of GPEB), Larry Vander Graaf (Director Investigations GPEB), Ursula Cowland (Director of Licensing GPEB), Elaine Hughston (Director of Bingo Gaming BCLC) and Marsha Walden (BCLC Vice President Bingo Gaming), Sue Birge (Deputy General Manager and Director of Policy, Legislation and Standards Division of GPEB), Joel Kilbride and Joanne Gasper (Saskatchewan Gaming), Lynn Cassidy (Ontario Charitable Gaming Association), Theresa Thom (“The Big Red Button Productions”), Anna Fitzgerald (Audit and Compliance GPEB), Rick Seville (Director of Registration GPEB), Sandra Froechlich (Gaming Supervisor Licensing & Charitable Gaming Regulatory Alberta).
2006 was a busy year with meetings with GPEB and charities to ensure that all groups that meet the guidelines for community programs are able to get funding. Helped new organizations to file and get funding. Our September conference was a huge success once again. Revenue was nearly $138 million to charities.
2007 A year of great changes: (1) increased revenue to Charities nearly 143.5 million dollars in grants (2) new “class D” gaming event license available for fundraising events under $5000.00 and all A, B, C and D license are available online. (3) You can apply online with GPEB and file your reports as well as updating your profile (4) There were funds announced for Parent Advisory Councils or PAC’s to access for playground equipment. Direct Access applicants will have the ability to apply for 3 year grants if they meet the criteria, the same as bingo affiliation. Our symposium was a huge success and marked the BCACG 10th anniversary of representing organizations and our 5th annual conference.
2008 A year in transition. What is going to happen to Bingo Affiliation? Some halls have cancelled volunteers’ hours in the hall. Is this what charities want—to no longer actively participate in the Bingo Halls? We need your input. Meetings are in the planning to discuss this issue with GBEB.
March 2008 BCBC and BCACG met in Nanaimo to discuss issues we want addressed by GPEB: Bingo Affiliation and charity role in the Bingo Hall.
On December 8, 2008 BCACG and BCBC met jointly with Minister Rich Coleman, members of his staff, and Derek Sturko, Assistant Deputy Minister Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch in Vancouver.
As a result of this meeting we made the following presentation to the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, after consulting extensively with many local Bingo Associations, to articulate a “meaningful role” for Associations.
(1) Communications: There is a strong desire to keep the existing network of organizations, local bingo associations and their representative provincial organizations—BCACG and BCBC—intact. Organizations currently rely on their local associations for information on a wide range of issues concerning bingo affiliation and direct access. They also rely on them to provide current and accurate information from GPEB. Associations have also been utilizing BCBC and BCACG to communicate between themselves and other Bingo Associations.
(2) Marketing: This is a role established by GPEB as “doing hours” after BCLC took over operations previously performed by organizations in bingo halls. BCLC recently wrote the following to BCACG: “Research indicates that the public has considerable interest in understanding more about “where the money goes”… in other words who benefits from the proceeds of Gaming Revenue. To maintain public support for gaming, the charitable sector has a huge interest in helping the public understand the benefits. We are therefore proposing reframing the issue of “hours” as “marketing activities”. Since many organizations and local associations still wish to have a presence in their local bingo hall or gaming centre and all understand the importance of advising their communities on gaming fund importance and how they are spent, we suggest that organizations continue such marketing activities and they continue to maintain records of these activities with the local association.
(3) While it has never been identified specifically as a key issue, it has come to the attention of BCACG and BCBC that GPEB perhaps would like to see Direct Access recipients included in local bingo associations. This is certainly possible; however, each local association would have to be given the flexibility to determine the nature of that membership, especially given that some association have unique relationships to their bingo hall and gaming centre. Direct Access recipients would benefit from the flow of information in the communications network described in o(1). And, they would also be encouraged to engage in some form of Marketing activity as described in (2).
Currently, BCACG is of course already providing service to direct access recipients in addition to bingo-affiliated organization.
BCACG, BCBC and GPEB had a conference call in April to discuss bingo affiliate transition issues, address funding questions of affected organizations and the future role of bingo associations. For the minutes of the conference call and Frequently Asked Questions, please see: GPEB Conf Call Apr 7 – Minutes and FAQ
In July 2009, the BCACG learned that the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch had imposed a funding freeze on Direct Access recipients. We immediately produced a number of media advisories which resulted in broad saturation of major print and broadcast media, including Vancouver Sun, CKNW, Georgia Straight among many other regional papers throughout the province.
See 2009 links:
- Media release direct access freeze
- Media release August 19 2009
- An Important Bulletin to All our Members and All Recipients of Gaming Grants
- Surrey Leader – Multitude of groups rely on gaming grants
- Global TV – Vancouver non-profit accuses province of reneging on funding
- The Province – Charities Relieved Grant Fund Lifted (apologies – Province has removed the article)
August 2009 – Email Response Direct Access Update
February 2010 – Summary of BCACG Legal Action against Provincial Government:
After considerable research and discussion with legal experts and historians, BCACG has engaged the services of A. Cameron Ward & Company as legal counsel and has selected a course of action. When the government is in receipt of the official documents, a public announcement will be made as to the nature of the legal action. At this point it can be said that this will be an action on behalf of all BC charities and non-profit organizations that have been, or are currently, recipients of gaming funds. It will have as its goals: first, the reinstatement of gaming funding to those organizations that have had their funds reduced or eliminated as a result of the recent provincial budget; and second, the guarantee from government that adequate funds from gaming will be allocated to charities and non-profit organizations so that no such cuts will occur in the future. Please donate whatever you or your organization can afford to help us achieve a successful outcome to this very difficult situation. (No gaming funds can be used to help support this legal action.)
All donation information is strictly confidential.
Please send cheques to:
BC Association for Charitable Gaming
PO Box 39
Prince Rupert, BC
October 8, 2010
Symposium held at River Rock Casino. Keynote address by Sandy Garossino.
October 14, 2010 BCACG released an Open Letter to Minister Rich Coleman, protesting the Direct Access cuts to charities and asking Vancouver City Council to refuse the review the provincial government’s application to expand gambling in Vancouver until these issues are resolved.
November 3, 2010 BCACG calls on BC Auditor General to investigate legality of gaming cuts
What will BCACG do in the future for charities?
1. Continue to ensure that government honors the guarantee of funding to charities and that the amount continues to grow each year.
2. Continue to represent charities with any issues that you require our assistance with access to funds for your community.
3. To produce a newsletter on a regular basis to keep charities updated with respect to current Gaming issues.