BC First Nations to receive provincial gaming revenue

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:06 PDT, Mon September 21, 2020

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

First Nations in BC and the provincial government completed and signed a 23-year agreement on Sept. 16 that will see the province share about $3 billion in gaming revenue.

The agreement supports Indigenous self-government and self-determination, strong, healthy communities and services that make life better for First Nations communities and people.

“Being able to count on this secure and long-term revenue can transform communities and lives—as two years of initial funding already started to show,” said Premier John Horgan. “Locking in these revenues for 25 years is part of our government’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation, ensuring First Nations can plan for the long term and invest in the services they decide their communities need to thrive and prosper.”

More than 97 per cent of eligible First Nations in BC have joined the First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership and started receiving their share of new revenue in September 2019 under an interim two-year agreement. The completion of the long-term agreement guarantees their share of gaming revenue for the subsequent 23 years.

“This agreement marks an exciting commitment from the Province to BC First Nations, as it relates to gaming revenue, that inspires hope regarding the application of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and informs how we can engage in successful government-to-government relations,” said Judith Sayers, co-chair, BC First Nations Gaming Commission. “We look forward to building on these successes with positive results from the upcoming Phase 2 negotiations, including enhanced First Nations access to gaming opportunities.”

The agreement is the first major multilateral agreement with First Nations that substantively incorporates the UN Declaration, following the passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act in November 2019.

First Nations determine how their communities will benefit best from the revenue. The revenue may be invested in:

  • health and wellness;
  • infrastructure, safety, transportation and housing;
  • economic and business development;
  • education, language, culture and training;
  • community development and environmental protection; and
  • capacity building, fiscal management and governance.

The long-term agreement will provide certainty for First Nations in BC to share in the province’s gaming revenues for 25 years. In 2019, the Province made amendments to the Gaming Control Act, establishing an entitlement to 7 per cent of the BC Lottery Corporation’s net income.

The BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership is governed by a five-person board of directors. In addition to administering the distribution of funding to eligible First Nations, it provides regular reporting to an independent auditor jointly appointed by the Province and the limited partnership.

To read more about the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership, click here.

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