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Province locks in First Nations’ slice of gaming revenue for next 23 years

The province has signed a 23-year agreement with First Nations in B.C. that will see the province share approximately $3 billion in gaming revenue.

“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, in a news release. “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 B.C. 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 B.C. 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.

In 2019, the Province made amendments to the Gaming Control Act, establishing an entitlement to seven 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.

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