Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Party's over for the Atlantic Lottery Corporation

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Party's over for the Atlantic Lottery Corporation

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Party's over for the Atlantic Lottery Corporation

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An editorial from the Halifax Chronicle Herald, published Oct. 27:

It was the first time in two decades that the Atlantic Lottery Corporation received a comprehensive check under the hood so you would expect some surprises.

However, a joint report from Atlantic Canada's four auditors general should serve as a wakeup call for government and corporation management.

The audit, details of which were released on Wednesday, paints a disturbing picture of the provincially-owned lottery giant, which has pulled in $432 million in profit for the four provincial governments of Atlantic just this year.

That kind of financial delivery can turn plenty of heads, but as the audit discovered, there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to governance and spending habits.

Provincial governments shoulder some of the blame, the auditors found, noting that they intervened too often while also failing to provide the appropriate guidance. This combination led to a number of costly losses.

The audit also cited a number of questionable spending practices that included thousands of dollars for concert and event tickets, expensive Christmas parties and unilateral pay increases.

Atlantic Lottery was found to make decisions about business strategies that were derailed by government after the funds had already been invested.

The auditors cited an example where the corporation spent $640,000 on board-approved Internet gaming, but shareholders eventually ended their participation.

In another example, Nova Scotia told ALC to pay Techlink $1.26 million, even though ALC's management and board had serious concerns.

The auditors said that the Atlantic Lottery board lacks the independence from government to carry out its job in governing the corporation.

The auditors report also included some startling findings in relation to overall operational matters such as compensation, travel and contract management and procurement. …

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