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Alberta opposition proposes lottery to fund new arenas for Oilers, Flames

Jan 3, 2013, 3:02 PM EDT

Edmonton Arena design

Alberta’s opposition party has devised a plan to help pay for new NHL arenas in Edmonton and, eventually, Calgary.

Under the plan, the lottery game KENO would be dramatically expanded to increase revenue from $3.1 million annually to almost $200 million.

“We believe this could be a solution that makes sense for everybody involved,” Wildrose opposition leader Danielle Smith said in a statement.

“The City of Edmonton would get a magnificent downtown facility, the Edmonton Oilers would get a new home and Alberta taxpayers wouldn’t be on the hook for any of it.

“Wildrose believes the downtown arena is an important part of Edmonton’s future and we hope the province and the city will consider our proposal.”

The idea is hardly original (even though the Wildrose party is calling it “new and innovative.”) Lotteries are often used by governments to fund stadium construction.

Arguments against using lottery funds include:

—- “If it’s so easy to raise the money, why not use the proceeds for something besides a subsidy for billionaire sports owners?”

—- Lotteries are largely played by the poor.

It remains to be seen if the provincial government has any interest in such a plan. (We’d wager it doesn’t, if only because the opposition party came up with the plan.)

The Oilers and the City of Edmonton have been calling on the province to fund $100 million of the cost of a new downtown arena.

  1. klownboy - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Heck it wouldn’t matter now that we have no hockey!

  2. bucrightoff - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Terrible, terrible idea. We don’t want taxpayers funding it, so lets prey on gambling addicts and have them fund it instead. If you’re going to raise money, put it to good use (better roads, more schools), not to give billionaire’s a handout. Also, this lottery fund will devert funds going into the tradtionally lottery, money that goes to charity. Billionaires can afford a new arena, sorry.

  3. katra2logic - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    The ‘Wildrose’ party is composed of people who make the white suprematists look like moderates. Hopefully they never get elected.

  4. atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    I’m neutral to the idea at this point, the Flames and Oilers do both need new arenas, and this is one idea on how to help build it. I’m interested to hear what the Calgary Stampede has to say about the new arena, since it will almost surely be placed on Stampede grounds and they will take control of it for the length of stampede each year, plus a few other events (assuming it will be like the current Saddledome situation) they could probably introduce a new Stampede lottery every year that would help raise some decent money to help finance…if they do go the coowner route.

  5. brooklynscott - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    What Alberta needs to do is tell Oilers ownership to take a hike and that if they can’t figure out how to build a new stadium and turn it into a profit in the long run that there are much smarter businessmen who’d be happy to buy the team.

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