N.S. casino targets Moncton gamblers

Casino New Brunswick has been open for less than a month but already it's getting a run for its money from its competition in Nova Scotia.

Rivalry between N.S. and N.B. casino starts after a month

Casino New Brunswick has been open for less than a month but already it's getting a run for its money from its competition in Nova Scotia.

Casino Nova Scotia, which operates the Halifax and Sydney casinos, made a direct play for Moncton gamblers this week by sending shiny black brochures into area mailboxes.

The advertisement talks about prizes, including the chance to win a new car and boasts about having the largest choice of games in the region.

Howard Blank, the vice-president of media, entertainment and responsible gaming for Casino Nova Scotia, said the practice of sending a brochure into a competing markets isn't unusual.

"All of our properties target neighbouring jurisdictions and people who had visited us before and it's quite normal for us to reach out to people who have visited us from Moncton and to potential new clients," Blank said.

Blank said the two casinos offer different products and different entertainment options.

The new $90-million Moncton casino features 500 slot machines, 22 table games and eight poker tables in private rooms. When the casino opened earlier in May, a casino spokesman said it expects more than 600,000 visitors will come annually to the casino.

The Casino Nova Scotia website boasts that it has more than 600 slot machines and table games.

Healthy competition

The Casino Nova Scotia spokesman said he's not afraid of some healthy competition with the casino in Moncton.

Blank said officials are keeping an eye on the situation to see if the Nova Scotia casinos are losing customers and money to the upstart gambling facility in Moncton.

"We haven't seen any negative effects yet. However, I think competition is healthy," Blank said.

"It brings out the best in service providers and let's them know that it's customer service and offerings that will differentiate the good from the bad. And we want to be the very best in the region."

Blank said the casino is trying to attract customers from Moncton, but he said that's fair because some of his customers will likely make the trip to New Brunswick to check out the new gambling facility.

The competition among Maritime casinos, particularly the opening of the Moncton casino, has caused the Prince Edward Island government to project a 17 per cent drop in gambling revenues this year.

P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said earlier in May that the Island government had spent the last 18 months trying to shore up its casino operations in preparation for the new gambling competition.