Online Gambling GeoSweep Controversy in P.E.I.

Published Saturday, May 04, 2013 -
Online Gambling GeoSweep Controversy in P.E.I.

The Canadian online gambling industry is fragmented into provincial jurisdictions where individual governments control the venues. While online gambling is still designated as illegal in Canada provincially owned corporations and tribal casinos abound. Some of the provinces in the eastern part of the country such as Quebec and Ontario are either offering or about to offer online casino action.

Now the Guardian News in the smallest province in Canada Prince Edward Island has revealed there is dissatisfaction with the government’s investment in the P.E.I. Lotteries Commission and the province’s $4 million stake in the online lottery game GeoSweep. The Opposition party Conservatives in P.E.I. have asked the auditor general to launch an investigation into the internet game.

The growing call for an investigation stems from the opposition’s claim that there is inadequate accounting and not enough reporting of the money being spent on the GeoSweep game. The fact that the commission’s audited financial statements were not included in the province’s 2012 Public Accounts document suggests there may be something to this line of questioning. It was also noted that the Lotteries Commission has not released an annual report since 2010.

Progressive conservative opposition Leader Steven Myers stated, “The law states the net profits of the commission must be paid into the operating fund (of the province). It doesn’t say anything at all about the treasurer taking those dollars before they cross the Confederation Bridge and investing them into some online gambling game,”

P.E.I. Auditor General Jane MacAdam said there has been changes made in the way the financial reports are presented and it caused a delay in the filing of the results. “Those delays were caused by implementation of the international financial reporting standards, so there’s a lot more work required by both the accounting and the auditing this year for that particular organization,” New Brunswick and P.E.I. were the only two Atlantic provinces that agreed to a total $8 million investment into this game. There is a lot to look into regarding this issue and it remains to be resolved.

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