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Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation Ex-Chief Claims He Is Not Gambling Den Mastermind

Illegal gambling is harmful to the Canadian economy, as it deprives the communities of substantial cash allocation support. Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation’s former Chief Andrew Penashue recently pleaded not guilty on charges related to illegal gambling den overseen by him.

He claimed before the court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay that he has never been the mastermind behind an illegal gaming house welcoming people of the community.

When an illegal gambling den operates and gains popularity across the community and neighboring ones, it succeeds in generating a substantial gaming revenue. What is unfair to other gambling operations is that this revenue is in no way taxed and no allocations go to the city coffers for various local projects. Charitable organizations also fail to benefit from the cash amassed.

11 VLTs, Bingo Machine Found on Site

September 2018 saw Mr. Penashue being accused of overseeing 11 Video Lottery Terminals, a bingo machine, as well as an ATM that supposedly made the gaming operation even easier. Once left without cash for spending on the gaming devices on site, players had the chance to withdraw more from the conveniently place ATM.

This week was a highly anticipated one, as the former Chief had to face the court. He pleaded not guilty on charges under the Criminal Code, claiming that there has not been a gambling house under his supervision. In addition to that, he was also accused of breaching the Lottery Act.

The 11 Video Lottery Terminals found at the gambling den did not have any licensing issued by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, which makes them illegal. The terminals were not affixed with the decal of the lottery corporation. Since there was no permit for operation, the alleged gambling den also had no approval issued by the provincial corporation.

Mr. Penashue was also charged with operating more than five of the widely popular Video Lottery Terminals, as there were 11 of them located on site. The said machines caused controversy and a class-action lawsuit against the Atlantic Lottery Corporation.

July 2 Sees Next Chapter of the Saga

The groundbreaking lawsuit could change their future fate across the Canadian Atlantic provinces, but also across other provinces, as plaintiffs claim that they are deceptive to the core. Some 30,000 individuals are involved in the class-action lawsuit and they could receive a generous share of the overall compensation Atlantic Lottery Corporation would pay if found guilty.

Mr. Penashue also pleaded not guilty to a previous charge for possession of a .22 caliber air rifle sans the mandatory permit issued by the province. RCMP conducted the raid upon monitoring the area and the location supposedly housing an illegal gambling den. Upon arriving there, Mary Gregoire, 55, was also confirmed to be residing there. She was charged the same, but just like Mr. Penashue, she pleaded not guilty this week.

What should also be taken into account is that their alleged gambling operation on site of the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation reserve is also considered against the law. Video lottery terminals should not be in operation on the First Nation reserve. July 2 is the next special date for Mr. Penashue, as he will have to return to court once again and hear more about the nine charges he is facing at the moment.