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Atlantic Lottery wants talk about allowing online gaming

Atlantic Lottery Corporation is again calling for public discussion about allowing it to offer online gambling like some other provinces.

Atlantic Lottery Corporation says its losing young gamblers to online gaming

Atlantic Lottery Corporation is again calling for public discussion about allowing it to offer online gambling like some other provinces.

The call comes in the corporations annual report for 2013-14 that was released Thursday and shows a continued decline in video lottery earnings as well as difficulty in selling lottery products to adults younger than age 30.

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation bucked a downward trend last year with a $7 million increase in profits. (CBC)
However, overall lottery profits bucked a downward trend last year, rising to $368.4 million, which is an increase of about $7 million from last year. ALC profits had been in steady decline since 2008-09, when the corporation recorded profits of $398 million.

Under the heading of "The Competitive Reality" in the annual report, the lottery corporation notes the gaming landscape has changed.

"In recent years, we've seen an explosion in gaming technology and accessibility. Along with it came the introduction of more than 2,500 unregulated online gaming providers from places like Malta and Gibraltar," states the report.

"Atlantic Canadians are spending millions of dollars annually on these gambling sites that operate outside of any regulations established by our governments. Unlike Atlantic Lottery, those sites' profits don't stay in the region to support our communities."

The lottery corporation handles legalized gaming activity for the provincial governments of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Government-run lottery organizations in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec provide online gambling options. The Atlantic lottery group is indicating it would like to do the same as "a safe and regulated alternative would advance player protection in Atlantic Canada."

"We think it is time for the discussion."

The annual report notes that 70 per cent of Atlantic Canadians use ALC products and the bulk of those players are older than 30.

"We face a growing challenge in attracting younger adults; those players who grew up in the digital world playing games of strategy and skill, with leaderboards and player profiles who will continue to game online, often with off-shore illegal gaming providers."

"We have to do a better job, as an industry and a company, of providing younger adults with entertaining options. That means new styles of games and new experiences unlike what we offer today."

Of the four provincial shareholders, Newfoundland and Labrador received the largest share of profits at $122 million, with New Brunswick receiving $119 million. Nova Scotia took in $110 million from ALC profits while P.E.I. received $15 million.

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