Independent MHA for Lake Melville, Perry Trimper, is not a big fan of the recently introduced Lotteries Act for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The legislation is headed for a third reading at the province’s House of Assembly, and it could prevent residents with gambling addiction from seeking class-action lawsuits against the local government.
The legislation also known as Bill 18 would stop residents from pursuing class-action lawsuits against the provincial government for their gambling addictions. If the bill is passed it would amend the Lotteries Act and provide immunity for the provincial government, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, and others from being responsible for locals’ gambling problems.
In a recent interview, Mr. Timper said that the new legislation is flawed, as more than CA$1 million is being poured into gambling from local residents and a third of it goes back into the coffers. According to him, the bill would take away the ability of those suffering from some sort of problem gambling while seeking justice through class-action lawsuits.
However, victims of gambling addictions could still pursue individual action lawsuits in court. But Mr. Trimper believes that it would be much more difficult to file such suits if the victims have already got themselves into financial trouble due to their gambling habits, as they could have lost their job, and ruined their family relationships.
Jordan Brown, the New Democratic MHA for Labrador West, has also voiced his criticism for the legislation. In his words, the approach of the government to defend itself from the result of the lottery corporation’s predatory actions and techniques is ridiculous. He continued that there would be no ramifications for the ALC even despite continuing the use of technologies or support for those suffering from such addictions in the province.
Derek Montague, former mayor of the North West River, has also been a victim of gambling addiction and says that the VLTs are the most dangerous ones. According to him, the ALC has failed to implement guidelines and protocols in order to protect its players from the highly addictive nature of VLTs. He also said that every machine is designed to be as addictive as possible.
Controversial Online Casino
This has not been the first time that the ALC has raised concerns among locals of the Atlantic provinces for its actions. Previously, the Crown agency’s decision to launch an online casino platform for the region has been a matter of heated discussions as many believed that the timing of the initiative was not appropriate as many gamblers were in lockdown, enabling them with easy access and thus making them more vulnerable to gambling addictions.
Fiscal Year Records
In October, the ALC published its financial report for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Despite the closure of casino properties during the period, the report suggests that the Crown is still on track to impressive profits during this financial year. One of the positives of the gambling operations is that a portion of the accumulated revenue can be used in order to finance provincial projects and coffers.
Source: Jugol, Rafsan “Lotteries Act change could hurt ability of gambling victims to find justice, MHA says”, CBC, November 7, 2021