It started out with a simple moral dilemma: Can I justify enjoying the services of an organization that accepts gambling money? In a small town I have found that by sticking to my principles I would have virtually nothing left to do.
After calling government, I went to albertalotteryfund.ca and clicked on “who benefits” and typed in “Ponoka.” What I found shocked and dismayed me: almost everything in town is funded by gambling. It seems to me that it is not just the gambler who is addicted, but also the government and the people of Alberta. When you go to the rinks, the pool, the library, the schools, the walking path, playgrounds, museum, you are not only enjoying something that regular taxes should have paid for but the house, car, food, and maybe even the life, taken by suicide, of the problem gambler. This amount is over $1.5 billion a year.1 With this amount of infrastructure coming from this source I’m surprised there are rarely any stories about gambling in the newspapers.
When a new project is announced, the real source of the funding is never given credit. It is implied that the service clubs, generous donations and municipal taxes have paid for it. This is very misleading.
Perhaps if you take the time to look at this website yourself, you too will realize the extent to which we are all addicted to gambling. As you read about all the wonderful community events on Ponoka’s new electronic sign ($49,000 funded by gambling)2 think about this question yourselves. As for me, I am still trying to decide what to do.
1 All figures from albertalotteryfund.ca
2 All figures 2008-2009 Fiscal Year Ponoka