McNeil Liberals deep-dive into online gambling habits worries PC’s

April 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Teenagers, between 16 and 18, included

HALIFAX, NS – Documents from the McNeil government show that the Nova Scotia Lotteries and Casino Corporation recently surveyed 10,000 Nova Scotians about their online gambling habits. The report, accessed through a Freedom of Information request, shows the telephone survey, which also included youth between the ages of 16 and 18, cost $114,000.

Progressive Conservative Finance critic Tim Houston wants to know if the McNeil Liberals are considering online gambling as a way of increasing revenue.Tim Houston, MLA for Pictou East

“The Liberals are addicted to the revenue that comes from gambling,” says Houston. “This was a pretty extensive survey. We want to know if the McNeil government will be introducing online gambling or not.”

Houston says online gambling has serious social, health and economic risks, especially for youth, that we don’t know enough about.

“The Liberals should be honest about their plans for online gambling. Targeting teenaged gambling is just wrong,” says Houston. “They should tell us today, why they are looking to online gambling, despite the damage it can inflict.”

In 2014, the Liberal government cancelled the My-Play system, which was a program designed to track VLT use. Yesterday, their budget showed they hope to collect even more money from gamblers than when My-Play was cancelled.

“The Liberals are balancing the books on the backs of problem gamblers,” said Houston. “We should be growing revenue through economic development, not taking more money from problem gamblers.”

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Background:

Key Survey Finding
Most who currently gamble online for money would be interested in playing on an online gambling site if one was offered by the Nova Scotia government, with 64% saying they would be very likely or likely to play on this site. Helping the local economy / supporting local and being a trusted / regulated site were the top two reasons given for why they would play on this site. Furthermore, most respondents who currently gamble online for money believe Nova Scotia government should offer online gambling. (Page 26)

Click here to view the document.