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Province seeks gaming input - Metro US

Province seeks gaming input

The provincial government is looking for public feedback in developing a new responsible gaming strategy.

Feedback collected at a new website, www.gov.ns.ca/gamingstrategy, will be considered as the province develops a five-year responsible gaming strategy for 2011 to 2016.

The gaming strategy advisory committee will include deputy ministers from finance, health, health promotion and prevention, labour, and is spearheaded by former provincial Tory Ron L’Esperance.

CEOs from both the Office of Aboriginal Affairs and the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation will also sit on the committee.

The strategy will review areas included in the previous government’s 2005 strategy, including the business of gaming, problem gambling prevention and treatment, and accountability. But the new strategy will also address more contemporary concerns, such as internet gambling.

“We’ve opened up the website to allow everybody and anybody in Nova Scotia to have their say, to know who to contact,” said Finance Minister Graham Steele.

“We’re interested in all points of view, its part of the background to developing a good gaming strategy.”

Questions concerning the province’s commitment to responsible gambling have been swirling since Mark Anielski, a consultant whose gambling study was shelved in December, accused provincial bureaucrats of killing his report.

Anielski told the Canadian Press he felt the province was concerned about liability. “If you somehow imply here were six suicides due to problem gambling, there may be a … liability challenge here,” he said.

“I can understand why people would be very nervous about this report coming out.”

Anielski’s draft has not been released to the public. Labour Minister Marilyn More cited questions about Anielski’s methodology as the reason for withholding the draft.

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