Industry Reports

First Nation Ex-Chief No Longer Faces Illegal Gambling Charges

Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation’s former Chief Andrew Penashue no longer faces the threat of serving time for alleged illegal gambling operation. The Happy Valley-Goose Bay provincial court scrapped all charges against him that had alleged he was involved in illegal gambling operation as its mastermind. Earlier this year he pleaded not guilty on the charges.

Illegal gaming operation is considered harmful for the local economy, as the host community does not receive gaming revenue allocations or any support from this structure. Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation was involved in a scandal last fall, as its former chief was accused of overseeing 11 Video Lottery Terminals, a bingo machine, as well as an ATM. Upon discovering the gaming den, it appeared to be well equipped for extensive gaming action.

VLTs Gaming Den Discovered

Video Lottery Terminals, or VLTs as they are commonly referred to have been among the highly popular gaming offerings across the Canadian provinces. They could be found in local bars and restaurants being closer to potential players and dismissing all claims that they are slot machines and their place is in a casino. September 2018 saw the discovery of a gambling den with more than ten VLTs, among them five of the most popular games in Canada.

In addition to those, there was also a bingo machine, for the individuals fond of this gaming activity, as well as an ATM allowing them to further fuel their gambling once they run out of cash. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation did not license the location, a mandatory condition for gambling operation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The former chief was accused of being the kingpin behind this illegal gambling den. This goes against the Canadian Criminal Code, as well as the Lotteries Act shaping the local gaming field. Moreover, he was also accused of owning a .22-calibre air rifle without the mandatory license. Months of legal battle followed with Mr. Penashue claiming that he has nothing to do with the gambling den and he is not guilty.

ALC Still Involved in Class-Action Lawsuit

Only recently, it became clear that there is no evidence against the former chief. Mr. Penashue was quick to celebrate the win against the court with a post on social media. He commented that the case he was involved with was won by him and life continues, as he is surrounded and supported by his wife, family, and close friends.

This is how all charges against him were dismissed and he is no longer threatened by serving time in prison. Early in June, he pleaded not guilty, joined by Mary Gregoire, 55, confirmed to be residing at the gambling den. July 2 was the next special date for Mr. Penashue, as he had to return to court once again and hear more about the nine charges he is facing at the moment.

Some 30,000 individuals are involved in the class-action lawsuit against VLTs overseen by the Crown corporation. Plaintiffs claim that the devices have a deceptive nature and they should be banned from future operation. People harmed by their alleged gaming harm could receive a generous share of the overall compensation Atlantic Lottery Corporation would pay if found guilty.