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No lotto for Squamish, says province

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The Lalli lottery is likely a no go, according to the B.C. Ministry of Housing and Social Development.

Throughout the run for municipal office, Squamish Councillor-elect Paul Lalli promised to push for a municipal lottery, the profits from which would go towards alleviating pressure on the district’s overburdened tax base. The idea was for the municipality to explore atypical revenue opportunities.

All gambling activity in Canada is subject to provisions set out in the Criminal Code, even that administered by a province. Under the Code, only a province, or an entity licensed by the province, can conduct a lottery.

However, the code restricts what types of organizations are eligible for licensing. In the case of fundraising for a community, only a non-profit organization can receive a license from the province, as can fairs and exhibitors looking to cover costs associated with operating a community event. As is, the Criminal Code has no provisions allowing for a municipality to conduct a lottery, or for the province to issue a license for that purpose.

And yet, Lalli remains determined.

“There is some lobbying to do there,” he said. “But I always believe that if a community has a good idea, and it’s embraced by the community, then there’s ways of getting government support.”

Lalli hopes to land on a committee that deals with such opportunities, a station he says he’ll use to stoke support. Further, he said Squamish has employees who once worked for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, and there’s an opportunity to exploit those avenues of communication.

“Council would have to support me in that to direct staff,” he said, “so that would be an avenue to pursue.”

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