The Department of Community and Government Services (CGS) recently advised Nunavummiut that conducting a lottery without a licence is a Criminal Code offence.
Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak said she agrees with prosecuting those who hold fraudulent lotteries and those who engage in “other forms of gambling in order to pay for their Vegas vacations or buying a new truck.”
However, she urged the GN not to use its resources, or those of the RCMP, to punish Nunavummiut who hold unlicensed lotteries as fundraisers — Chase the Ace, for example — when they are aiding schools and “desperate people who are looking to raise a few dollars to help with funeral-related expenses or travelling to be with a dying relative.”
“We need to take a more human approach and recognize that prosecuting someone in these circumstances is not in the best use of our government’s time and resources,” said Angnakak.
CGS Minister Lorne Kusugak replied, “I believe it is my right not to state an opinion on this issue.”
He did say that he’s not aware of any individuals in the territory who have been prosecuted for unlicensed lotteries within the past year. He also said his department is “constantly monitoring” the lotteries act that was inherited from the NWT when division of the territories occurred in 1999.
Angnakak suggested that the department should consider bringing amendments to the lotteries legislation before the House for consideration. She also recommended that lotteries should be overseen by the liquor and gaming commission.