Excerpt from the Official Report of


April 2, 2010

Rise in problem gamblers and cuts to gambling addiction services

S. Simpson:
The B.C. Medical Association has identified 159,000 people in this province who are problem gamblers. Of those, 31,000 people have serious gambling addictions. We also know that the number of people with severe gambling addictions has more than doubled since 2002, yet the B.C. Liberals have cut supports for the programs to assist those people.

We now have the Minister of Tourism promoting a large new casino to help pay for the half-billion-dollar roof on B.C. Place. We know that this minister has previously raised issues about gambling addiction and the impacts on families.

Is the Minister of Tourism confident that the government has done all it can to ensure that problem gambling will not increase due to this casino?


S. Simpson: The Minister of Tourism has been vociferous in his condemnation of gambling in the past, going so far as to suggest people will be dying in the streets. Yet today he's the lead minister to build the biggest casino ever in British Columbia. Where's the hypocrisy in that? This at a time when the gaming policy and enforcement branch notes that B.C. has the highest proportion of problem gamblers over seven other provinces in this country.

Clearly, the minister has reconciled his contradictions on these positions, particularly when his government does so little to support British Columbians who have gambling problems.

Can the Minister of Tourism tell us why British Columbians should have any faith in him when he promotes this initiative on one hand after condemning it only a few years ago?


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