Nova Scotia Redirects Funding for Gambling Awareness Organization
January 26, 2021
A non-profit organization that supported gambling prevention and study groups has reportedly been disbanded by the Canadian province of Nova Scotia in favour of redirecting the funds to more general mental health supports.
Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia (GANS), an arms-length government body, was created to raise and administer funds for campaigns to address the effects of gambling problems on bettors and consumers.
While the province has not officially confirmed the dissolution of the organization, a group that had previously received GANS funding notified the local media that it had learned of its termination.
Bruce Dienes, chairman of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia, a non-profit that aims to reduce the community harms associated with gambling, said the Department of Health and Wellness (DHW) told him that funds directed to gambling awareness organizations will now be channelled more generally to programs for mental health and addiction. He said he was told by the DHW that "new information" had prompted the realization that many of the negative effecsts of gambling are also associated with depression and anxiety.
The DHW said that justified sharing the funds more widely.
"In the middle of COVID ... isn't there more of a need to do this prevention work and community awareness work?" said Dienes, as quoted by CBC. "This is the time when people are most vulnerable."
GANS reportedly had an annual budget of approximately $300 million, financed by Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation.
Marla MacInnis, a spokeswoman for the DHW, said, per CBC: "Problem gambling often occurs with other mental health and addictions issues, and due to the stigma, people often initially seek help for other issues. It’s best if people can access support that addresses these issues together.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Atlantic Lottery Corporation is preparing to expand its online casinos to Nova Scotia and P.E.I., which would allow for bigger bets than are currently permitted through in-person VLTs.