Province, casinos hope to cash in over longer hours
Charities worried later hours will make it harder to recruit volunteers to staff casinos
Extended hours at Alberta casinos may mean more revenue for charities, but they may also make volunteers more reluctant to staff them.
As of April 1, casinos will be allowed to stay open for more hours — up to 17 from 14 consecutive hours — and one hour later, until 3 a.m.
The change may mean more money for the province, which scoops up 70 per cent of casino profits before dividing the remainder between the casino operator and charities.
But to earn their share, charities must staff the casinos.
Those charities already have difficulty attracting enough volunteers, said Allan Bolstad, who is with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.
"It's just going to be that much longer for everybody to work and as a result it's going to be that much harder for non-profit groups to try to find people to work these shifts," he said.
"Many people will work three or four or five casinos from different organizations, so it's calling upon the same people in many cases. And after a while people, you know, find it hard to find that much time to help out."
Staffing casinos has become critical to the bottom line of charities bringing in $70,000 to $80,000 over a two-day shift, Bolstad said.
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission said it's trying to strike a balance, said Dan Huang.
"We're trying to meet consumer demand," he said. "We hope to see increased revenues for charities and we'll just monitor the situation and see how it goes from there."