A non-profit organization that supported gambling prevention and study groups has been disbanded by the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia (GANS), an arms-length government body, was created to raise and administer funds for campaigns to address the effects of gambling problems.
While the province of Nova Scotia has not verified the dissolution of the organization, a group that had previously received GANS funding notified the local media that it had learned of its termination.
Bruce Dienes, chairman of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia, said the Department of Health and Wellness (DHW) told him that funds directed to gambling awareness organizations will now be directed more generally to programs for mental health and addiction.
GANS had an annual budget of approximately $300 million, financed by Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation.
Mental health funding
The diversion of funds was criticised by Dienes, claiming that there was a “profound lack of funding for mental health in Nova Scotia.”
Marla MacInnis, a spokeswoman for the DHW, said: Problem gambling often occurs with other mental health and addictions issues, and due to the stigma, people often initially seek help for other issues. It’s best if people can access support that addresses these issues together.”
Sports betting bill
Meanwhile, in an attempt to raise more cash in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a sports betting bill has been reintroduced to Canada’s House of Commons.
The bill is backed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), which recently announced its interim president and CEO, Lynda Cavanaugh.