News Release Archive

The Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission has released its first
report on the extent and impact of legalized gaming activity in
the province. The report, the first of its kind to be released by
a government agency anywhere in Canada, provides a detailed
analysis of wagering in Nova Scotia including the revenue that is
returned to the province, the type of gambling favoured by Nova
Scotians and the economic and social implications.

"We believe that this report breaks new ground in the type of
information that has been made available to the public. Only now
are other jurisdictions commissioning similar studies on the
impact of gaming on their society," said Elwin MacNeil, chair of
the Gaming Control Commission. "Our challenge has been to uncover
and report on all aspects of gaming, thereby giving Nova Scotians
a complete picture that will enable them to have informed
opinions and make wise judgements on this increasingly important

Over $760 million was wagered on a variety of gaming activities
last year in Nova Scotia. Play on video lottery terminals
accounted for 46 per cent of that amount while sales of Atlantic
Lottery tickets represented 21 per cent. Other gaming activities
studied in the report include casinos, charitable lotteries,
raffles and harness racing.

"This is the first time that the total amount actually wagered in
Nova Scotia has been reported in this fashion," said Mr. MacNeil.
"It is important to understand that this figure does not
represent a significant increase in the amount of Nova Scotians
spent on gambling in previous years. Rather, for the first time,
a gross revenue number is being reported, as opposed to net
numbers that have traditionally been used. By comparison, using
the only common measurement presently available in Canada, it
would appear Nova Scotia ranks seventh lowest in Canada, in terms
of per capita spending on gambling."

Nova Scotians' attitudes on casinos and video lottery terminals
appear to have changed since 1993, the last time a major survey
was undertaken. Fewer Nova Scotians are now opposed to casinos
(50 per cent in 1996 compared with 58 per cent in 1993) while
opposition to video lottery terminals has increased from 64 per
cent in 1993 to 70 per cent in 1996.

The commission also reported on the prevalence of problem
gambling in Nova Scotia. In 1993, it was found that 4.8 per cent
of Nova Scotians were identified as problem gamblers while a
recently completed study found no statistically significant
increase in that rate with 5.5 per cent identified as problem
gamblers in 1996.

In carrying out its mandate, the commission made recommendations
to Sandra Jolly, Minister responsible for the Commission. The
recommendations focused on video lottery terminals, Atlantic
Lottery Corporation marketing and accountability, bingo
regulations, streamlining of procedures for fundraising groups
and the communication of benefits from gaming revenue.

The Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission began operation in
April of 1995 taking over from the agency formerly known as the
Nova Scotia Lottery Commission. In addition to its study and
reporting responsibilities, the commission employs compliance
officers who protect consumer interests by enforcing regulations
on film classification, casino, bingo and lottery play and liquor


                     ANNUAL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

* This report is the direct result of the new Gaming Control Act
  which created the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission.

* The Nova Scotia Gaming Control Act also created the Nova Scotia
  Gaming Corporation which manages and administers casinos in the
  province and is the Province's shareholder in the Atlantic
  Lottery Corporation.

* Contained in this report, and for the first time in Nova
  Scotia, an estimate of the total amount wagered on legal gaming
  activities in the province.

* Review includes the most extensive study ever undertaken in the
  province on the attitudes and opinions of Nova Scotians on the
  prevalence of gaming in their society.

* $760 million was wagered in 1995 - 1996 in Nova Scotia, making
  gaming a very important industry, warranting significant
  regulatory attention.

* Of the annual wager, $117 million was returned to the province,
  $23 million was returned to charities and $490 million was
  distributed back to players as prizes.

* Casino gambling represents a relatively small component of the
  total wager (15 per cent) in Nova Scotia.

* In 1995 - 1996, 50 per cent of Nova Scotians said they are
  opposed to the casinos, down from 58 per cent who said they
  were opposed in 1993.

* VLT gambling is by far the largest gaming activity in the
  province representing 46 per cent of the total wager.

* In 1996, 70 per cent of Nova Scotians are opposed to video
  lottery, compared with 64 per cent who were opposed in 1993.

* Bingo accounted for approximately $93 million in gaming
  activity in 1995 - 1996.

* Many charities are not receiving an appropriate share of funds
  from bingo operations.

* As yet, there is no significant evidence of negative social
  impact as a result of the introduction of casino gambling.

* The prevalence of problem gambling in Nova Scotia has not shown
  any statistically significant increase between 1993 and 1996.

* Preliminary studies indicate no material impact in justice,
  health, environmental areas as a result of casino gambling.
  Institutionalized tracking methods must be implemented to
  monitor future impacts.

* VLT revenue subsidizes many community organizations holding
  private club liquor licences, as well as commercial

* The Atlantic Lottery Corporation conducts and manages a
  significant portion of gaming in Nova Scotia with little or no
  independent external regulation.

* Almost two-thirds of adults in Nova Scotia, 19 years of age or
  older, are not opposed to gambling:

    * 40 per cent of Nova Scotians have visited at least one of
      the two casinos since they opened;

    * 73 per cent had purchased a lotto 6/49 ticket in the past
      12 months;

    * 21 per cent of Nova Scotians have participated in bingo in
      the past 12 months;

    * 18 per cent have played a video lottery terminal in the
      past 12 months.

* The main reason for opposition among those opposed to gambling
  was the perceived negative impact it has on families.

* The Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission, in its report, is
  making the following recommendations to the Government of Nova

    1. Review of regulations governing bingos to ensure that
       charities and religious groups realize maximum financial
       benefit from their efforts.

    2. Video lottery terminals be automatically shut down during
       hours that a liquor licensed establishment is closed.

    3. Streamlining of licensing procedures for small fundraising

    4. Code of conduct be developed to ensure Atlantic Lottery
       Corporation marketing is not directed to minors.

    5. Nova Scotia to assume higher level of accountability for
       Atlantic Lottery Corporation operations in the province.

    6. Material be developed to demonstrate the programs,
       facilities and activities which are funded by gaming



Contact: Elwin MacNeil  902-424-3660

trp                       Sept. 24, 1996 - 11:25 a.m.