An anti-gambling activist says Nova Scotia is wasting time and money by testing a new device meant to control problem gambling.

The province has agreed to test Sydney-based Techlink Entertainment's device, which is a small console that attaches to video lottery terminals (VLTs).

Gamblers swipe a card to obtain their gambling history and suggestions on betting limits.

Bernie Walsh, who was once a VLT addict, says those hooked on gambling will simply avoid the device because they don't have the self control needed to limit their play.

Techlink says its responsible-gaming devices can be programmed to shut down a VLT once the betting limit is reached.

VLTs account for 47 per cent of government gambling revenues, but with the number of problem gamblers growing, there is pressure on the province to do something.

Nova Scotia will spend $2 million on a field test this spring in at least one community.

If the pilot project is successful, eventually all the VLTs in the province could be fitted with card readers – and anyone using a machine would need a card.