The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation plans to install a "responsible gaming device" in every video lottery terminal in the province. It's a gadget that tells gamblers how muchthey havewon or lost, and how long it took.
Critics say the plan is a waste of money, because it doesn't do anything for gambling addicts.
"This little gadget has nothing to do with helping a person not to become addicted," Debbie Langille, a self-described gambling addict from Halifax, said recently.
Langille is part of a group that has launched a complaint with the federal Competition Bureau, claiming the machines entice gamblers to risk too much money.
Like Langille, the provincial Opposition Liberals want the province to get rid of VLTs altogether.
"It almost looks as a way of indicating to the larger public that they're doing something, when in fact [for] problem gamblers [it] had no impact on them whatsoever," said Liberal gaming critic Leo Glavine.
"We still need to see VLTs removed from Nova Scotia."
But the president of the Crown corporation, Marie Mullally, said Monday the technology will help gamblers moderate their play.
"The target group are your no-, low-, and some of your moderate-risk players who are still in the position of playing responsibly, and having the benefit of this information and tools will allow them to continue to play responsibly because of that informed choice," Mullally said.
Gaming revenues are expected to drop when the control device is installed, Mullally said,but the agency wants what she calls a healthy and sustainable player base, with fewer players gambling themselves into serious trouble.
The Gaming Corporation spent $430,000 on a trial of the "responsible gaming" devices, and the research was done by Focal Research Consultants and Omnifacts Bristol. Techlink Entertainment of Sydney, N.S., designed the device.