On Thursday December 7th, Mr. Marc Sabourin, Acting Director of Direct Access Funds for the BC Gaming Commission, and his colleague Paul Whitehead, Policy Analyst, made a presentation to representatives from 41 Sport BC member organizations. Following the presentation, Mr. Sabourin answered a number of questions from the assembled group. What follows is an attempt to capture the spirit of both the presentation and the question and answer period.


In the past year, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of applications to the BC Gaming Commission. For example, applications for bingo licences have increased 66% while there has been between 600 and 700 new applications for direct access funds over last year. Unfortunately, there has not been a concurrent increase in staffing levels, which, as most of you are aware, has contributed to processing periods of up to five months for direct access funds. There has also been a substantial turnover in existing staff at the commission. Mr. Sabourin is expecting an increase in human resources early in the new year to address this problem.


Generally speaking, applications are processed on a first come, first served basis. Due to the huge increase in applications and to the policy which allows organizations to apply for direct access funds up to the end of the 10th month of their fiscal year, staff have had to balance dealing with last minute applications to ensure their funding is delivered in their fiscal year as well as trying to process long standing applications. Beginning next year, organizations must apply before the end of the 8th month of their fiscal year, which should eliminate some of the last minute backlog.


Mr. Sabourin also spoke of new streamlined processing procedures as well as new computer systems which should serve to enhance the commissionís ability to process applications in a timely fashion. It is Mr. Sabourinís hope that in the new year, the average waiting period for direct access applications to be processed will be 8 to 12 weeks.


Mr. Sabourin and his staff are interested in meeting with organizations on a one to one basis and will be forwarding, to all Sport BC member organizations, a list of questions and information for organizations to prepare for these meetings. A list of our member organizations has been forwarded to the Gaming Commission and you will be contacted in the coming weeks to determine your interest in meeting with representatives from BCGC.




1. Does the fact that more organizations are applying for direct access funds mean that our organization will receive less money than last year?


That is a possibility. The meetings with individual organizations may shed some light on a more coordinated approach to funding but the reality is that there are more non profit groups seeking assistance so annual funding levels cannot be guaranteed.


2. Can gaming funds, after their receipt, be transferred to a short term investment account (e.g. GIC) until such time as they are needed?


No. The intention is that gaming funds are utilized to meet program demand and are not to be utilized in this fashion.


3. If we do not receive our gaming funds, until after the program for which those funds are intended, is complete, can we reimburse our accounts with gaming revenue?


Yes, as long as there is an appropriate paper trail to indicate appropriate use of funds and transfers.


4. Can we send in an application immediately at the end of our fiscal year and submit our audited statements when they are complete?


No. Applications must be submitted with audited financial statements. Due to the huge number of applications received by the gaming commission, incomplete submissions will be returned.


5. Does an operating budget surplus affect the amount of gaming funds an organization can receive?


Yes. Generally speaking, gaming funds are intended to address program needs in the event of budget shortfall. An exception would be if a budget surplus is restricted or dedicated to things like capital projects.

** There was some discussion about this issue and some concern about this being a disincentive for fiscally sound organizations. Mr. Sabourin agreed to bring this issue to the gaming commission board for review.


6.Can direct access funds be utilized to support high performance activities?


Generally speaking, the commission prefers that gaming monies be utilized to support mass participation as opposed to high performance but there are situations where high performance programs have received gaming dollars.


7. The amount for gaming to charities is now annually about $126 million and there has been a commitment from government to increase this share. Does this mean more money to amateur sport is possible?


While the annual amount to charity from gaming is slated to increase with the current policy, organizations should be aware that policy can change and that gaming is, by itís nature, risky. There are no guarantees and organizations should be wary of relying on gaming funds.


8. What are the criteria that the gaming commission looks at in terms of eligibility for funding?


Membership numbers distribution throughout the province, program impacts, volunteer base and alternate sources of funding for an organization are some of the criteria that are examined when determining eligibility. (A more complete list can be found on the website at