Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia lottery revenues up $42M for tickets, video lotteries

People in Nova Scotia are feeding more money into video lottery terminals, two years after the Liberal government abandoned a program meant to help keep gamblers from becoming addicted to VLTs.

NSPLCC posts increase in revenue 2 years after My-Play system removed

Video lottery terminal revenue in Nova Scotia was up by $19 million in 2015. (CBC)

People in Nova Scotia are feeding more money into video lottery terminals, two years after the Liberal government abandoned a program meant to help keep gamblers from becoming addicted to VLTs.

VLT revenue was up by $19.6 million in the last fiscal year — from $113 million in 2014-15 to $132.6 million in 2015-16 — according to financial statements released Thursday by the Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation (NSPLCC).

In a statement, the corporation said the increase is due in part to the replacement of obsolete terminals, which resulted in increased player interest and participation.

Players returning to VLTs

It's the second year revenues have grown since the removal of the My-Play System.

The system was first introduced in 2010 by what was then the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation as a way of preventing non-problem gamblers from becoming addicted to video lottery terminals. It became mandatory on all Nova Scotia VLTs in April 2012.

Players needed a card that tracked their activity in order to access the terminals.

The system was scrapped in August 2014 because the government said it was not helping people with gambling problems, and only a small percentage of players were actually accessing My-Play's collected information.

'Impacted in a negative way'

Opposition politicians have in the past claimed VLT revenue increases have come from people with gambling problems who suddenly had unrestricted access to the terminals.

"I know for a fact that, out of that $19 million, there are people who have been impacted in a negative way who have a problem with gambling here in Nova Scotia," said Sackville-Cobequid MLA Dave Wilson, who also serves as the NDP House leader.

"Unfortunately the government made the decision to remove the responsible gaming tool and not replace it with anything else."

Revenues from VLTs are expected to grow even more this fiscal year. The spring budget forecast an increase of $11 million to $143.5 million.

Lottery revenues climb

Ticket lottery revenues were also up in the last fiscal year, by $23 million. The combined increased revenue from VLTs and tickets was $42 million last year.

The NSPLCC said the higher ticket revenue is due to bigger lottery jackpots, including the first $64-million jackpot won in Canada.

It also said there have been more Lotto Maxmillions and Lotto 6/49 jackpots and an increase in Twist and Tag purchases.

Overall, gambling revenue helped deliver $141.4 million to the province for 2015-16.

All of the profits from the regulated gaming industry go to government programs, including the NSPLCC's flagship program, Support4Sport.

The NSPLCC says a further $6.4 million was invested in responsible gaming programs, education and treatment. 

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