The provincial government in Manitoba, Canada, requires 2 per cent of the net income of the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries to go to the research and treatment of addictions. The local gambling and alcohol agency, however, has reduced the social responsibility budget and failed to spend a little over CA$2 million which should have been allocated to the treatment of addictions and problem gambling.
The data was revealed in the annual report of the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, which is a state-owned Crown Agency that manages the alcohol and the gambling industries in the Canadian province of Manitoba. The latest report is for the fiscal 2016/2017 year and it shows the total revenue collected from casinos, liquor operations, lottery and video lottery terminals. The total revenue in 2017 was CA$1,360 billion and after calculating various expenses such as the cost of sales, operating expenses, and goods and service taxes, the total allocation to the province was $586 million. In fact, the revenue from all operations controlled and regulated by the agency increased during the past year.
But there is an interesting detail in the report, according to which $2.1 million of the total amount dedicated to social responsibility was left unspent. As per the legislation enacted in 2013, the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation needs to allocate 2 per cent of its net income on addictions research, treatment and awareness campaigns. The report shows that in 2015, $869,000 was left unspent and carried forward to 2016, while in 2017, the amount of reserve funding reached $2.1 million. Looking at the Allocations and Payments section of the report, the social responsibility funding in 2016 was $9.8 million, while in 2017, it dropped to $9.7 million.
According to the agency, the fewer funds spent on social responsibility initiatives is not a problem, but some experts warn that the regulator does not do a great job at ensuring the safety of the people. One of its main purposes should be helping people with alcohol and gambling addictions. But only a small part of the social responsibility funding goes to the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.
Dealing with Problem Gambling in Manitoba
Some experts are expressing concern about the insufficient funding dedicated to the treatment of problem gamblers. There was a Gambling Research Council which is no longer active. It had an annual budget of $1 million and was created to conduct research related to responsible gambling, problem-gambling prevention and treatment. Meanwhile, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba offers problem gamblers a free group treatment in Winnipeg, Brandon, and Dauphin.
However, the only residential program for compulsive gamblers takes place at the Parkwood Treatment Centre in Brandon. In the year to March 2017, it was visited by 1,601 individuals who took part in the rehabilitation programs that last 21 to 28 days. More than a thousand individuals take part in self-exclusion programs in the province each year. According to a 2014 study by the Liquor and Gambling Authority of Manitoba, the majority of people are non-problem gamblers (64.2%), while 22.7 per cent of the men and women in the province do not gamble at all.
The results of the research paper, released in June 2014, show that around 11 per cent of Manitobans have experienced behaviours related to a low risk of problem gambling. Around 1.2 per cent of the people are moderate-risk gamblers and approximately 0.8 per cent of the adults in the Canadian province can be described as problem gamblers.