What are the Issues?

  • The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) wants to introduce a high stakes online casino in Nova Scotia 
  • In other Atlantic provinces anyone can lose up to $10,000 a week playing slots at $100 a “spin” and blackjack at $500 a hand. Let’s not let this happen in Nova Scotia!
  • The government says they are creating online casinos to discourage people from using “offshore” casinos that they see as unsafe.
    If they know online casinos are dangerous, why are they starting one? It is likely that people who would not otherwise gamble online at higher stakes might be encouraged to try this casino since there is the illusion that it is “safe” because it is government sanctioned.

Why should I care? 

  • Gambling can harm the whole community, not just people who gamble.
  • When local money is spent on gambling it no longer supports local small business or community groups.  For example, four million dollars a year leaves King’s County alone.
  • Gambling uses undisclosed psychological manipulation and deception.
    • Small wins encourage more bets, leading to long term losses.
    • Unrealistic percentages of “near misses” on VLT spins encourage more bets.
    • The gambling industry creates algorithms to make sure they win. Everything is programmed by them.
  • Gambling can increase crime rates, domestic violence, poverty, depression and suicide.
  • Increased ease of access via the Internet creates more harms.

Dear [Your MLA’s Name Here],

I am very concerned about the proposed plan to introduce a government-run high stakes online casino in Nova Scotia via the Atlantic Lottery Corporation’s (ALC) website.

Currently, in New Brunswick people can lose up to $10,000 a week gambling online at https://alc.ca. Nova Scotia currently has a cap of $1,000 a week, and has not yet allowed the online casino, showing that Nova Scotia can set its own course for online gambling. Even that lower limit still means a person could lose $52,000 a year gambling online. You could lose your home, from your home!

In the proposed high stakes casino, if it is implemented in Nova Scotia, people could be using slots at $100 a “spin”(40 times the current legal limit for VLTs), blackjack at $500 a hand, and similar high stakes in other casino projects. Let’s not let this happen in Nova Scotia.

ALC and the government are trying to sell this as a safer alternative to offshore online casinos. However, in order to match the high stakes of offshore casinos, they will  create increased risk of harm here in Nova Scotia. This looks more like a money grab. There are two main reasons why this is not a safer alternative:

  1. Previous experience with addictive substances like tobacco and alcohol, shows that the more accessible the product is (e.g. more outlets), the more harm. So, adding an additional outlet will cause harm to more Nova Scotians. Easy access from home or cell phone increases this risk.
  2. Having a government-sanctioned outlet gives the illusion of safety which may lead people who would not otherwise have considered online casino gambling to give it a try and potentially get hooked and harmed.

Gambling does not just harm people who gamble. It ripples out to family and friends and workplaces. Money lost in online gambling leaves the community and is not available to support local business or community groups. Gambling can increase crime rates, domestic violence, poverty, depression and suicide. This also increases costs to taxpayers for health services, social services and justice services. The strain this has on our community outweighs the advertised “profit”.

Tax money would be better spent on community-based prevention programs that would build awareness of how to avoid gambling harms.

Please respond to this letter and let me know that you are committed to stopping the proposed online casino expansion into Nova Scotia.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]


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