Nova Scotia

VLT revenues rising in Nova Scotia after My-Play killed

It's been a year since the Liberal government eliminated a card control system called My-Play. Since then, revenue generated from Video Lottery Terminals is likely to increase by another $4 million this year.

Since the card control system was removed, VLT revenues went up $8M in 2014 and $4M this year

The numbers don't lie. Nova Scotians are are pumping more money into Video Lottery Terminals since the governing Liberals got rid of a card control system called My Play last August. (AP Photo/Tim Roske)

There's no dispute over the fact that Nova Scotians are pumping more money into video lottery terminals since the governing Liberals got rid of a card control system called My-Play.

VLT revenue was up $8 million last year, and it's expected to grow another $4 million this year.

The My-Play System was first introduced by the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation in 2010 to prevent non-problem gamblers from becoming addicted to video lottery terminals. It became mandatory on all Nova Scotia VLTs in April 2012. 

The N.S. Liberals pulled the plug on My-Play last August.

Opposition politicians claim the revenue increase is coming from problem gamblers who now have unrestricted access to the machines.

The corporation that promotes gambling in Nova Scotia, the Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation, said casual players who were once turned off by having to use the My-Play card are starting to use VLTs again.

Today, Health Minister Leo Glavine offered another theory for the increase: tourists.

Health Minister Leo Glavine says a spike in tourists in Nova Scotia is one of the reasons why VLT gambling revenue is on the rise. (CBC News)

​"​You know it is a big jump," he said. "We know last year we had the most significant amount of tourists visiting our province in one year for some time."

Glavine said visitors will likely add to the predicted VLT revenue increase for this year.

"I think some of it translated, you know, into revenue from an increase in tourism."

Asked how he knew tourists were behind the increases, the minister suggested the Lottery and Casino Corporation had studied the issue.

"That again was some of the information that I think you'll find coming from the lottery and gaming," he said.

In an email to CBC News, Stacy O'Rourke — a spokeswoman for the corporation in question — disputed that claim.

"NSPLCC is not aware of any study. We did not look at tourism as an impact for the increase in VLT revenue."