$50 million gambling award

The losers are now the winners

A $50 million dollar settlement has been reached between Loto-Qu├ębec and the nearly 120,000 problem gamblers in regards to the cost of treating their addiction.

The class action lawsuit started in 2001. The case finally went to court in 2008 and is expected to be completed before mid- 2010. The Quebec provincial government has now agreed to reimburse the costs of addiction treatments between 1994 and 2002.

The plaintiffs (addicted problem gamblers) had sought about $1 billion in damages. Some of the cases brought before the courts were very sad, including people losing their life's savings and their homes, once hooked by the video lottery terminals (VLT).

The VLTs bring in more then 25% of the gaming corporations $3.8 billion in annual revenues.

The insurance answer
Clear warnings on every VLT and the symptoms of problem gambling, should be displayed in any area with VLTs, and that might help to curb some of the problem. At this point there is no way to stop someone from spending all their money on the "one armed bandits". Provincial health plans provide some necessary counseling coverage, and often group plans will have limits for mental distress counseling. It is always best to remember that there is a weak player in every game. We know it's not the machine.