AGLC Update From the Federation of Calgary Communities
Back in February 2021, we let you know that AGLC was reviewing the Gaming Model with priorities placed on access and revenue equality, use of proceeds, volunteer requirements and eligibility. As one of 94 organizations selected to be on the consultation team, it was a grueling process that was extended until April 26 (2 months longer than intended) because of the complexity of the system and the issues themselves. After almost 3 months of work, five groups made presentations back to the larger committee and to members of AGLC on April 27. There were many ideas in common and where consensus was not achieved. For example, most groups broadly support simplified rules, consistency in how the rules are applied and transparency and equity, but “how” to achieve those met with mixed results. The urban and rural divide was undeniable and heavily debated as was the ineligibly of certain groups (e.g., cultural) when others were licensed. The reality is that there is unfairness and inequity in the system. There are also more organizations applying every year than the system can accommodate.
Bottom line, the groups convened were only able to put ideas forward. AGLC staff now will use this input to make recommendations around the issues to the AGLC Board. The board will take them to the Minister of Finance by September 30 with implementation by January 1, 2022. AGLC staff have stated that this will likely be a political decision.
Change is going to happen! Using “what I heard” from the five groups and not knowing the AGLC staff recommendations and guessing at the political will, at best, you might prepare your organization for longer wait times and less funds. At worst, you may lose your eligibility. The themes that weaved through all five groups were: pooling of all funds across all Alberta eligible organizations, increasing the number of eligible organizations (perhaps splitting the casino so 2 groups share), extending the wait times so all groups wait equally long, and potentially, redefine “public benefit” to maximize return for all Albertans (might exclude groups that can not demonstrate their impact on the community). On a positive side, all five groups also clearly advocated for broader “use of proceeds”, more flexibility, more efficient use of volunteers and less rules. Each group also cautioned on the unintended consequences of sweeping changes, with some supporting a phasing in change.
Stay tuned for an update, however, it is important to let your MLA know how important your gaming funds are to your organization. It would be proactive to set up a meeting with your MLA to discuss some of these things:
1) How has your organization benefited from Gaming Funds? Or alternatively, how you have not been able to obtain a license and the reasons you were denied.
2) What has your organization used your gaming funds on? Think about positive impact on people!
3) What are the consequences of not having the same level of “earned revenue” in the future?
As always, let us know if you talk to your MLA about this or other funding matters.