Nova Scotia’s government is still assessing the potential benefits and pitfalls of opening up a regulated online casino in the province.
Finance minister Allan MacMaster said the government’s focus has been on healthcare and housing since being sworn in at the end of August and he needs more time to assess the proposal.
“We’re a new government,” he said in an interview at Province House, per CBC News. “We want to talk about these things.”
In February, the former Liberal government that was then in power in the province cleared the way for sanctioned online gambling through the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. While a similar website has already been set up in New Brunswick, the Crown corporation is looking to have sites in all four Atlantic provinces.
Gambling brings significant revenue to the province each year. Having a provincially operated website could be a new revenue source while also affording certain features that other gambling sites do not, said MacMaster, similar to a core part of the thinking behind moves to open up a large-scale regulated iGaming market in Ontario.
Back in April, Atlantic Lottery commissioned two new reports questioning a potential link between legalising online gambling and an increase in problem gambling.
The lottery corporation has said player protections would be built into the website, but MacMaster also voiced concerns about gambling in general.
“There’s always been debate over if you’re going to have gambling, if the government is going to be offering it, what are you going to do to help those who might fall into problem gambling situations and the impact it would have on not only them but their families.”