At the bottom of the Bridgetown theft, we'll discover…

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I don’t know for certain. But it would not surprise me to discover, when we finally touch bottom in the Great Bridgetown Financial Fiasco—when we get past the recent auditor’s report fingering a single trusted employee for looting $113,000 from the town’s treasury, past the ongoing police investigation and likely charges and even more likely conviction (the auditor’s report says she admitted taking the money), and on to her pre-sentence report—gambling was at the heart of the crime.

I have no proof. But I read the papers.

Consider these Nova Scotia gambling-related crime stories, all published since October 1.

A former financial secretary to the Lunenburg local of the Canadian Auto Workers’ Union is ordered to stand trial on charges he failed to pay back $29,000 he stole from the organization. His lawyer claims the man is addicted to video lottery terminal gambling.

The former president of a Royal Canadian Legion branch in Waverley is sentenced to house arrest after stealing $21,385 he gambled away over three years. “Gambling took hold of me,” he told the judge at his sentencing.

A Glace Bay man pleads guilty to robbing a local bank branch of $2,389 to “support his gambling addiction.”

And a Musquodoboit Harbour doctor is ordered to abstain from gambling, alcohol and non-prescription medications after the province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons determines she prescribed narcotics to a patient—and took them herself.

Most crimes associated with gambling addictions tend to slide under our radar.

But not all.

Last spring, Jason MacRae finally admitted he killed his wife, school teacher Paula Gallant, during an argument over a $700 online gambling debt.

And two of those charged in the MLA expenses scandal—former MLA Dave Wilson and current MLA Trevor Zinck—have been publicly identified as having “issues” with gambling.

In fact, a 2006 research report says 45 per cent of all inmates at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Institution self-reported gambling problems; 20 per cent claimed to have committed gambling-related crimes.

We have a problem we’re not admitting. Perhaps it’s because we too are hooked—on the millions of dollars in government revenues gambling provides.

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Copyright 2011 Stephen Kimber, Website
  1. Hats off to those who figured out a way to get the poorest citizens to voluntarily give up a regular stream of dollars for funding community programs while the wealthy are legally allowed to defer taxes. Gotta love gambling addiction! Best God damned job creation scheme ever conceived! Lottery employees, gambling addiction counselors, Retail franchises, etc. Small wonder social responsibility, inventiveness, and thrift seem to have lost their original luster. We’re all a bit tarnished these days. Time to renew the public imagination and take a chance on generating prosperity through investing in local businesses rather than wasting money on lottery tickets.

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  2. Not certain if it was gambling-related but also the man who defrauded Valley health authority for 400 k. It stands out because it was such a high amount.

    Gambling is just a slice of the problem. We’re a society addicted to “having it all”. How much of that gambling can be traced back to high credit card debt, student loans? I actually know someone who used to go to bingo in an attempt to win her tuition. To her credit, she admitted it.

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  3. Our government needs to get out of the gambling business, the lottery tickets are bad enough, making it accessible online it going to ruin many households.

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  4. Gambling is one of the biggest problems with our society. Our new minister of Communities, Culture, and Heritage, Dave Wilson, is doing his part to help this. He silenced (under the guise of consolidation) an anti-gambling advocacy group and he is introducing gambling over your TV and over your cell phone. This will certainly have an effect on our communities and our culture, but is it one that we really want?

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