The agency that oversees gambling in Nova Scotia is revitalizing its image on the taxpayers’ dime.
The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation has put out a request for proposals asking firms to help it create a three-year strategy to tell people what it does.
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“There has tended to be a lot of misconceptions about the industry and gaming in general,” said Krista Grant, corporation spokeswoman. “We’re hoping that this strategy will help us get our message out to Nova Scotians so that they understand what we offer.”
She said the profits made from Nova Scotia’s 2,234 video lottery machines, two casinos in Halifax and Sydney and lottery tickets provided about $162 million to the government in 2006-07. That money went towards building better roads, running schools and hospitals, and helping those addicted to gambling.
Grant said the corporation spent $7.8 million in 2006-07 on prevention education and treating gambling addicts.
She didn’t know how much the strategy will cost because that’s included in the proposals.
Terry Fulmer, a member of the group that wants VLTs banned in Nova Scotia, says the rebranding strategy is to create “propaganda.”
“It’s just another method to remove them from their wicked product,” Fulmer said.
He said that any agency that makes money from VLTs, which account for 75 per cent of the corporation’s profits, should be ashamed.
“They spend more money trying to tell Nova Scotians that they gamble responsibly than they do treating Nova Scotians,” Fulmer added.
He said it’s unacceptable that addicted gamblers who ask for help are told to wait four to six weeks.
Grant said the corporation is a world leader in responsible gambling.
“Nova Scotia spends more on prevention and responsible gaming programming than all of the U.S. combined,” Grant said. “We take that very seriously.”