The Ontario Lottery Gaming (OLG) announced this past week that over 100 million dollars has been raised through Ontario Charitable Gaming (cGaming) and 1,800 charities have benefitted from cGaming since 2005. Right here at home in Sudbury, our local Charity Gaming Centres – Boardwalk Gaming Sudbury and Boardwalk Gaming Val Caron have provided over 2.3 million dollars to 144 local charities this past year. cGaming has a mandate to ensure that the proceeds remain in the community to benefit the community and its citizens through charitable giving.
The most significant element of Boardwalk Gaming providing over 2.3 million to local community charities is that all charities polled agree that without the revenue from Boardwalk Gaming, they would not have another revenue source to fill the large funding void that Boardwalk provides to support their services. Many charities like the Sudbury Food Bank receive no form of government funding and rely heavily on the funds generated through Boardwalk Gaming to supplement their critical services to their member agencies.
Dan Xilon, General Manager of the Sudbury Food Bank states, “While canned goods are important to our member agencies, it is the cash donations that the Sudbury Food Bank distributes to our member agencies that helps them purchase fresh produce and high quality protein for local families who don’t have adequate food. The Food Bank distributes over $550,000 dollars of in cash to member agencies for fresh meat and produce each year, with Boardwalk Gaming centres supplying almost $125,000 or 25% of that revenue,” comments Xilion, “that’s significant.”
The same is echoed from Léo Therrien, Executive Director of Maison Vale Hospice, a facility in Sudbury that provides hospice palliative care to terminally ill residents and community clients. For this organization, Boardwalk Gaming’s yearly contribution exceeds $20,000 that goes directly to care of the Hospice’s residents. “We are very grateful for the money we receive from Boardwalk Gaming. Boardwalk has been donating to the Hospice for more than 20 years. The proceeds pay for our residents’ medications that are not covered, and it also pays for the residents’ meals and utilities costs,” comments Therrien. “If organizations like ours weren’t able to rely on this consistent revenue year after year from Boardwalk Gaming, we would have to scramble to try to raise money through other events even though we wouldn’t have the volunteer power or the same ability to generate that level of funds. The smaller organizations would most likely disappear totally,” adds Therrien.
It seems apparent that cGaming provides significant benefits to local communities not only through the important services supported by the charities, but through the economic development provided by the private sector with increased employment opportunities and property improvements that increase the tax base.