–by Jordan Bateman, Taxpayer.com: Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) lost $208,642 on its New Horizons in Responsible Gaming conference in 2016. That’s a loss of nearly $2,500 per paid registrant.
The FOI shows that BCLC spent $328,093 on the Feb. 1-3, 2016 Vancouver conference, but only recouped $73,800 in sponsorships and $45,652 in registration. That meant a loss of $208,642.
“It’s irresponsible to waste two hundred grand on a responsible gaming conference,” said Jordan Bateman, noting that from the online registration records in the FOI, it appeared fewer than 85 people actually paid to attend the conference. “It’s time for the BCLC to pull the plug on this money-losing schmoozefest.”
Among the questionable expenses listed in the FOI:
- Food and beverages cost $55,282 including a “sushi demo,” “top sirloins carving station,” “moja organic coffee,” “porcini and chive quiche, copious amounts of craft beer and wine, and much more
- $6,500 for a conference phone app, plus $275 in prizes to induce downloads
- $662 in carbon offsets for speaker travel
- $23,344 was paid for airfare, including return trips from London ($2,687.24), New York ($2,242.55), Las Vegas ($923.12) and Manchester ($2,678.33)
- $40,922 to rent space at the Vancouver Convention Centre
- $79,314 in AV fees
- $63,750 in event management fees
- A photo booth that ran for less than three hours cost $729.75
In 2015, CTV reported that the conference lost $138,000. The same story notes it cost BCLC $57,000 in 2014. The CTF plans to file an FOI request for the 2017 numbers within 30 days, to allow all of the bills to come into BCLC headquarters. The 2017 conference wrapped up Feb. 22 and featured Margaret Trudeau as the keynote speaker.
“Like a gambler on a bad losing streak, BCLC just keeps blowing more and more money on this conference every year,” said Bateman. “They’ve already lost more than $400,000 in three years, and you can bet the 2017 edition added to that total. The executives who push this thing every year should be embarrassed.”
The full, 236-page FOI can be found HERE.