In Alberta, business recommencing was expected to begin this week or at the beginning of April. On Monday, however, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announced that the province would postpone the restart of operations for a short time. The casinos will remain closed for the time being, which is bad news for many charitable organizations that rely heavily on gambling funding.
Unfortunately, there will be no charitable gaming nights in the near future. This is a big hit for many charity organizations, which have already been seriously affected by the unprecedented situation. Over CA$321 million was raised for charity by gaming nights in the 2019-20 year, and the absence of such funds this year will be felt substantially.
There will be no charitable nights for the time being since Step 3 of the business restart has been put on hold. According to Carmen Horpestad, executive director of the LoSeCa Foundation in St. Albert, those charity events typically raise between CA$5,000 and CA$20,000 for their programs. Every three years, the organization hosts a charitable night, with the next one scheduled for 2022.
Ms. Horpestad believed that their organization is losing a lot of money due to the closure of casino properties and the lack of social gathering events. She is concerned that, since their date is in 2022, the lockdown restrictions will cause other dates to be pushed back, resulting in an even longer wait for their foundation.
The future of the charitable events is currently unclear, according to Heather Holmen, a spokeswoman for the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission. According to her, the Crown agency is waiting for confirmation that table games will be permitted to restart operations and then the commission will start to reschedule dates and events.
The gaming industry, on the other hand, is concerned about the future of these charitable events. Ms. Holmen is worried that, even if table games restart in the near future, some organizations will still consider it dangerous to host such an event, and that there may not be enough volunteers to help manage it. She claims that a variety of factors would affect the course of action of the gaming nights.
With the previous relaunch of table games and businesses in general in the province in September 2020, gambling charity events returned to Alberta. Several fund-raising events have been organized by the Crown corporation for local organizations such as Youth Action Rally and the Alberta Youth Parliament. Even if it was just for a short time, the gambling nights have become a breath of fresh air for the local charitable communities, which are in much need of funds.
There have been mixed feelings about moving into Phase 3 of the government plan, which may result in the reopening of business establishments in Alberta. Aside from the optimistic economic impact of reopening gambling properties, some residents are worried that the restart comes at an inappropriate time, given that the consequences of the unprecedented situation are far from dissolved.