Ontario stops funding problem gambling research agency, orders closure

The Ontario government has eliminated funding to an organization that researches problem gambling, ordering it to wind down operations by the summer.

Gambling Research Exchange Ontario was told last month that its entire $2.5 million annual budget had been cut by the province.

It will have to cease operations by mid-July and 14 staff members will lose their jobs.

The agency says it provides resources to prevent problem gambling that are used by front-line service providers including the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission.

The cut comes as the Progressive Conservative government looks at ways to expand online gambling and has said it will allow free alcohol at casinos to allow operators to better compete with their American counterparts.

The government said it was making the cut so that it could focus on delivery of front-line services.

The CEO of Gambling Research Exchange Ontario said the organization is disappointed it won’t be able to continue the work its done for 20 years. The knowledge and research built up over that time could be lost, said Trudy Smit Quosai.

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