Casino position reversal renews gambling addiction concerns
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) says the current Finance minister’s willingness to entertain a proposal to open a casino in the province not only flies in the face of past government policy, it raises concerns about the existing treatment options for people with gambling addictions.
“This government has had a no-casino policy since 2004 which was confirmed again in 2010 by the Finance Minister at the time, the current premier,” Michael said in the House of Assembly today.
“A 2012 Department of Finance note states that a casino would attract few additional tourists and the majority of patrons would be local gamblers. This would also mean another regressive tax levied by government.
“I ask the Minister why is she suddenly showing an openness to the notion of casinos when it clearly goes against a ten-year Cabinet policy?”
Michael says government should not be considering a new form of gambling when it has still not yet dealt with the problems that already exist.
“Government has been promising a new VLT strategy for three years, even though VLTs are clearly still a problem for gambling addicts,” she said. “Last March I asked where the strategy is, and the Minister said she would be attending a meeting of Atlantic Provinces in May where they would continue working.
“I ask the Minister, did this meeting of Atlantic Provinces take place, and were VLTs discussed? When will we see a new VLT strategy?”