Manitoba’s Veterans Reap the Rewards of VLT Gambling

Manitoba’s Premier fulfills promise to give more gambling revenue to Legions.

Manitoba's Premier Fulfills Promise, Giving More Gambling Revenue to LegionsGambling is a tricky topic. Some people love it. Other people hate it. A few think they can make a living from it, while some lose everything they hold dear trying. The morality and legality of gambling has for decades been a matter of great religious and political debate. But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the governments who regulate it are mesmerized by the amount of money it generates.

Most governments are prone to increasing taxes to suck every bit of money they can out of casinos and other gambling businesses. While Manitoba’s leaders do appreciate the cash flow it generates – perhaps more so than any other Canadian province – they’ve exhibited a greater level of respect and appreciation for the people of the province than the gambling money in their coffers.

Pallister Fulfills Promise to Give More Gambling Revenue to Veterans

Back in September, while Incumbent PC Premier Brian Pallister and NDP rival Wab Kinew were duking it out in their election campaigns, Pallister promised something that was sure to slide favor in his direction. Within his Platform Commitments, he promised more support for the veterans of the province.

Pallister’s promise was to: “Direct Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries to adjust the revenue sharing agreement with veterans organizations from 20:80 to 25:75 until completion of the provincial Gaming Review.”

Pallister fulfilled that promise this week. He didn’t just fulfill it – he upped the ante by an additional 5%. According to the latest reports, the Premier signed off on an agreement to increase the local Legion’s share of VLT revenue not just to 25%, but to 30%. The extra funds are expected to spread an additional $600,000 worth of wealth across the province’s 70+ local veterans’ chapters.

Fred Wilson, head of the Royal Canadian Legion, St. James Branch #4 in Winnipeg, said the increased funding will give them the opportunity to update the “little things” that need it most.

We upgraded here and it was extra revenue we had gotten, and even grants from the government,” said Wilson. “We got to do our upgrades, from bathrooms to the bar.”

Pallister to Deliver Property Takes Exemption for Legions

Providing more money to support their nation’s greatest heroes was just half of the promise in his September campaign. Pallister also earmarked legislation for a property tax exemption, applicable to all veteran organizations in Manitoba.

The PC Premier is under no false impressions about the importance of the gambling revenue it receives. 100% of those funds are invested back into the province, and are critical to supporting healthcare, education, social services, housing and more. With that in mind, Pallister said in 2018 that Manitoba would conduct a thorough review of the gaming industry. That review is now underway. It’s expected to take more than a year to complete; the goal being to discover exactly where and how much gambling should be permitted in the region.

Manitoba is the most dependent of all provinces on gaming revenue to pay for things like health care,” admitted Pallister, “and so it is a really important thing to get this right.”

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