Lifting N.L. casino ban 'not on our radar screen'
Finance Minister Ross Wiseman says there are no plans to revisit issue
Finance Minister Ross Wiseman says the province won't be rolling the dice on a casino, although he can't explain why one of his predecessors asked the lottery corporation to develop a business case for one.
"It's not on our radar screen," Wiseman said in an interview.
"It's not something I'm pursuing as a minister, and it's not something that government is pursuing a discussion around."
According to government briefing notes obtained by CBC News through access to information, a former finance minister asked an outside entity to develop a business case for a casino in St. John's.
Wiseman confirmed that assessment was carried out by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation.
But the current finance minister wouldn't say which of his predecessors ordered the review, or when and why it was done.
"The minister involved is no longer a part of government, so I'm not sure how that originated," Wiseman said.
"It wasn't a direction coming from cabinet to explore that."
Longstanding Tory policy
A ban on casino gambling has been longstanding Progressive Conservative policy since the party took office in 2003.
But that stance evolved in May 2014, when then-finance minister Charlene Johnson said the province was open to at least considering proposals for a casino.
"I think we have an obligation if somebody puts that level of work and detail into a formal proposal, I think it's only fair to review that. Our current policy is no casinos, but we'd have to give it a fair look."
But Wiseman said Wednesday the province is not interested in revisiting the issue.
"It's not something that I'm advancing to cabinet," he said. "It's not something that's on my agenda."
The minister said he has not received any casino-related proposals since he took over the finance portfolio nearly 11 months ago.
Wiseman added that the government is not interested in participating in any ventures related to online casino gambling.