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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives Jan 10 1998, Page 3

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 10, 1998, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday january 10, 1998 the Lethbridge Herald a3 Southern Alberta s third sector and How it affects our lives the Good and bad faces of gambling o court gambling Revenue or to survive somehow without it that s the question that haunts Many non profit groups with As much existential urgency As the other ques Tion plagued Hamlet. Today s what s on third Page explores the controversy surrounding use of gambling revenues. Are non profit agencies the ones addicted you decide. Despite the controversy that continues to rage around cards Dice and wheel Lori Virginillo has nothing to hide when it comes to gambling. In fact As games manager for Casino Abs in a Clobridge she s proud of her operation the Ren ovations that have broadened the location s Appeal and the role the business plays in Community life. Everything that takes place at Casino Abs is Legal she says and Community groups that work casinos collectively gain millions of dollars to help them do their work. Organizations that participated in the last quarterly Pool made More than each she adds. Gambling critics often cite the spectre of Addic Tion As a key reason for opposition. Virginillo acknowledges Ilie possibility a minority of gamblers develop gambling problems and expresses concern for folks affected in this Way. Training in gambling intervention will be made available to Lethbridge staff members shortly she Suys and similar training is already Complete at other Abs locations in the province. I think we have a responsibility in the service that we provide to train our staff in recognizing gamblers typically describe their pastime As a sociable and entertaining form of release with payouts providing pleasurable yet harmless incentive to continue. They Don t see gambling the Way their critics do As evidence of a shameless lust for Money coupled at times with pavlovian slav Ery to the Chance of Cash Reward. Meanwhile the Cash starved non profit organizations that receive gambling Revenue either by Grant or earnings Are unlikely to discern evil in the fact Given that the purposes for which they use the Money Are so patently Good. Still there arc abstainers such As the salvation army which gives thousands of dollars in Aid each year without Reliance on the gaming fix. The Sally Ann does t participate in bingos or casinos nor does it apply for lottery funds such As those from the wild Rose foundation. We basically Don t get into it on the thought that although it often begins in a harmless Way it frequently lends to grosser capt. Glen Habkirk says. He adds gambling can Lead to family breakups theft and spiritual selfishness which we feel runs contrary to he Christian expression of love respect and concern for one s fellow then there Are organizations like the Southern Alberta Art gallery which relics on bingos for about eight per cent of its total income. Staff member Anine Voneman says bingos Are 11 fun Way for people to spend their time and a government regulated Way for non profit groups to make Money. Whether we were participating in them or not bingos would still be the gallery also gets 30 per cent of its budget from gaming funds via Fie Alberta foundation for the arts. Saag does t have a written policy on Gam bling Revenue but accepts Money from the Afa because this is the Only Way the arts Are funded provincially Voneman says. Even for such organizations As the salvation army morally opposed to gambling Gam bling generated Revenue can enter the accounts. Habkirk says the Agency does t ask donors questions about How the Money was raised. As a result the salvation army is sometimes the recipient of gambling generated funds. I would be foolish to say clubs and groups that Send us Money make it by pouring South country a Haven for those who need help in Stark contrast to the bustling casinos and Bingo barns where gambling obsessions May begin. South country treatment Centre is a Bare Bones Refuge where hard work super cedes lady Luck As Queen. Here sanity rather than riches or release is the prize most coveted. And Healing once achieved is celebrated As joyfully As any Jackpot might have been before the change. Most times it s a life crisis Hal brings them into a treatment says program manager Anne Bailey at South country one morning As program participants Are Busy with group work downstairs. They could lose their Job their family is Dis integrating there s economic problems or there May be Legal however if desperation and uncertainly Domi Nate the emotional landscape before treatment elation is common after Ward Bailey has found. At that Point addicts typically feel they re Noi alone any More Hal they re not bad that they have a treat Able problem. They feel supported and they feel with its unpretentious Cream col ored exterior and a sign shrouded in part by Colorado Spruce Trees South country treatment Centre is easily missed when driving Down the gravel Road leading to its door. No flashing lights Here just peace Ful Prairie Countryside that mirrors perhaps the slate of mind guests Hope will be theirs. Inside the 24-bed facility located on two hectares of land near the Lethbridge research station Are offices meeting and recreational space a dining room and dormitories. The anti gambling program at South country which also treats alcohol and drug abuse can be taken on either an inpatient or outpatient basis. An intensive six Day program is followed by return to Normal life then another six Day pro Gram to reinforce the first. The schedule each Day is packed with activities ranging from support groups to individual coun Selling to group talks. Topics tackled Range from addiction patterns to anger and stress manage ment spirituality Leisure nutrition support net works and relapse prevention. In using the 12-Slep recovery Model that began in alcoholics Anonymous the pro Gram encourages honest self reflection vulnerability in interpersonal sharing and Reliance on a higher Power As key tickets to growth. Ann Kiniak South country s executive director says increased life satisfaction and a decrease in problem areas after program completion Are key indicators of Success even if Complete abstinence is not Leona fl1m a cram staff achieved our pro Gram does however ask for abstinence. We believe total abstinence is the Way to go Bailey says 5.4 per cent of people who Gamble develop a gambling problem with typically devastating effects on relationships finances and Sitf a Stem. Problem gamblers Are 15 times More Likely to commit suicide than non gamblers she says and half of problem gamblers have another substance abuse problem. Gambling is considered a process Addic Tion Rattler than a chemical addiction but the effects Are similar in that both arc progressive and chronic Bailey adds. Gordon Leigh executive director of the John Howard society also witnesses firsthand he Ter Rible damage gambling addiction can cause. He says addiction can begin with relatively Small infractions such As robbing of a child s pig Rybank or borrowing from Polly Cash at work. Then results can become More serious such As armed robbery or fraud or bankruptcies. Some people have even had to forfeit farms Leigh says. Noticeably in the last two years the John Howard office has encountered an increasing number of clients who have committed crimes directly related to gambling Leigh says. Herald photo by David Ross tar Deal me in Casino Abs dealer Lisa Zielinski deals a game of Biack Jack. I help is available if you have a problem Here is a list of resources for people concerned about problem gambling Lane Chesko regional director for the Canadian foundation on compulsive Gam bling will provide information individually or speak to groups about gambling. To reach her Call 327-7858. For information on gambling realm Cal pro Grams Call the Alberta alcohol and drug abuse commission at 381-5183 or South country treatment Centre at 329-6603. Gamblers Anonymous meets tuesdays thursdays and saturdays at the Chinook club 328 13 St. N. A also meets at . Sun Days at South country treatment Centre half a Kilometre South of the Lethbridge research Sta Tion. The tuesday group is designed for anyone with a gambling problem. The others arc open to anyone. For More information Call Lane at 327-7858 or South country at 329-6603. Gama non is a support group for families of people with gambling addiction. For More information Call Marianne at 380-4336. A loll free gambling helpline at 1-800-665 9676. Thanks to Phil much for editorial assistance retailer commissions 4.5% fiscal video lottery and Casino gaming operations Dollar amounts in thousands lottery fund 24.6% Federal tax expense 0.4% 70.5% total total i Jii Minu and la Jinor comm in where does the Money go alb erlans like it. Charities Benefit. Community standards play a role. In a nutshell that s the government s View of gambling in the province. We look at gambling As a form of entertain ment for Many says Kathryn wingers communications director for Ibe Alberta gaming and liquor commission. Nin Cly five per cent of alb erlans who Gamble do so without any during 1996-97, Lethbridge charities look in million through gambling initiatives including Raffles pull tickets bingos and Casi nos the latter including proceeds from Lable games and a percentage on Slot machines and electronic horse in addition Lelh Bridge recipients got about million from the Alec la lottery fund in 1996-97. The fund is fed by lottery ticket sales As Well As video lottery and Casino gaming operations. The latter category includes proceeds from volts located in bars and lounges As Well As partial proceeds from Slot machines in casinos. The list of local fund recipients for the fiscal years of 1995-96 and 1996-97 is Long and diverse from the Allied arts Council of Leth Bridge to the Lethbridge and i Ulrici exhibition. Specific projects Range from a Cottonwood Forest research package As conducted by the Helen Schuler Coulee cd narc to Purchase of fryc standing basketball hoops by the boys and girls club of Lethbridge and i Ulrici. The Alberta Wollery fund in 1996-97 gave local disbursements of million. The total commitment to traditional agencies and other initiatives is again million this year with an additional million in lol cry revenues to go to communities through Community lottery boards in 1998-99

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