Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) learned the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) lost $208,642 on its New Horizons in Responsible Gaming conference in 2016.
That amounts to a loss of nearly $2,500 per paid registrant.
The FOI shows that BCLC spent $328,093 on the Feb. 1-3, 2016 Vancouver conference, but only recouped $73,800 in sponsorships and $45,652 in registration, resulting in a loss of $208,642.
In 2015, CTV reported the conference lost $138,000 and that it cost BCLC $57,000 in 2014.
“It’s irresponsible to waste two hundred grand on a responsible gaming conference,” said Jordan Bateman, director of the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation.
He added that based on the online registration records, it appeared fewer than 85 people paid to attend the conference.
Some questionable expenses listed in the FOI include Food and beverages costing $55,282. This included a sushi demo, sirloin carving station, moja organic coffee, porcini and chive quiche, and craft beer and wine.
Additional expenses included $23,344 for airfare, $40,922 to rent space at the Vancouver Convention Centre, $79,314 in audio-video fees, and $63,750 in event management fees.