Alberta charities could face cutbacks if casino funding is changed

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EDMONTON — Alberta charities have become heavily dependent on money raised at casinos and changing the way gambling proceeds are doled out could lead to major cuts at organizations on the losing end of the stick.

Experts say this is partly why the province on Tuesday shelved a thick report on the future of charitable gambling, which recommended a major redistribution of the nearly $200 million charities bring in every year by hosting casinos.

“There are no funding alternatives for those organizations that will see a shortfall as a result of the change,” said Russ Dahms, executive director of the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations.

“You have got to sell a lot of chocolates and kielbasa to make the kind of money you can make at a casino. They will have to cut clients, cut services, cut back — and they’ll point their fingers right at the provincial government.”