Review must address waste and mismanagement at BCLC

Posted in:

VICTORIA – Today’s B.C. Lottery Corporation review must finally address waste and mismanagement at the Crown Corporation, said New Democrat gaming spokesperson David Eby.

“Government must explain why the corporation is reducing its return to B.C. taxpayers despite an increase in revenue from casinos and lotteries,” said Eby.

The Crown review is the latest in a series of reviews by the B.C. Liberals which examine how government decisions have affected B.C. taxpayers. Previous audits of B.C. Hydro and ICBC revealed how the B.C. Liberals had allowed management costs to skyrocket and IT procurement projects to spiral out of control.

The review must explain issues including:

  • Big bucks for catered Canucks private box: BCLC spent $4,622 in catering at a private box in Rogers Area over three nights for former CEO Michael Graydon and guests. The BCLC has refused to disclose Mr. Graydon’s guests’ names as well as the names of dozens of other BCLC private box guests over the 2013/14 Canucks season.
  • Hundreds of thousands for hockey sponsorships: In 2013/14, BCLC paid Vancouver Arena LP and the Vancouver Canucks a combined total of $459,000, after other Crown corporations cut out their sports sponsorship contracts.
  • Big severance payment for disgraced CEO: Finance Minister Mike de Jong personally signed off on an $86,000 severance package for BCLC’s former CEO. The money was ordered to be returned after it was made public by the Opposition and government was forced to investigate.
  • Cuts to casino police funding: In 2009, the B.C. government cut the entire $1,000,000 budget for the dedicated RCMP money laundering and loan sharking team for B.C. Casinos despite warnings that doing so would leave the issues almost entirely unpoliced. The number of suspicious cash transactions at B.C. casinos doubled between 2011 and 2013 (459 to 1,013).

For too long the B.C. Liberals have allowed the BCLC to abuse their monopoly on gaming in the province. B.C. Liberal appointees on the BCLC board have ignored growing problems at B.C. casinos and scrambled to explain how past BCLC directors and presidents have ended up at gaming companies overseen by the corporation. The review will only be useful if it answers these important questions.