News release

One Step Closer to More Responsible VLT Gaming

The Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. and its agent, the Atlantic Lottery Corp., are one step closer to a more responsible VLT program in Nova Scotia.

In December, the corporation issued a request for proposals challenging VLT suppliers and manufacturers to develop solutions to make the video lottery program more responsible.

The request for proposals officially closed at end of business March 9, and three proposals have been submitted for evaluation.

"Today, we are one step closer to improving the VLT program in Nova Scotia to encourage responsible play," said Dara Gordon, vice-chair of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. "The corporation is committed to managing gaming in a responsible and prudent manner."

The three proposals received are from Spielo Gaming International of New Brunswick; Powerhouse Technologies Inc. of Montana; and High Tech Gaming Ltd. of New Brunswick, a distributor for International Game Technology of Reno, Nev.

A key part of the request for proposals involves replacing the old machines with new, more flexible technology capable of incorporating recommendations from video lottery research. Some possibilities for change include introducing interactive games, cash outs or timeouts, and play by dollars rather than credits.

Dr. Howard Shaffer from Harvard Medical School and Dr. Harold Wynne, president of Wynne Resources in Alberta, have been retained to assist the corporation in this initiative. Both are experts in the field of problem gambling.

"The VLT program requires change," said Ms. Gordon. "We are embarking on a whole new approach aimed at responsible gaming. Replacing VLTs is the first step, but we are looking at taking many more."

Some of the other initiatives being considered include education and training programs for VLT retailers and possible changes to the physical environment surrounding VLTs within establishments.

The next steps in the request-for-proposals process include evaluating the proposals, testing terminals to technical standards and selecting proponents for field testing. This evaluation is expected to be complete by June 8.

Beyond that, next steps include a field test with an evaluation by the problem-gambling experts. Rollout is estimated to occur in early 2000.

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Contact:

Jennifer MacIsaac
Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. 902-491-2548 or 902-424-2203
jmg                  March 15, 1999                   11:25 a.m.