Industry Reports

Taxpayers Should Not Pay for Gambling Experts’ Testimony before Law Amendments Committee, Says Nova Scotia Premier

The Premier of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil, shared that local taxpayers should not have been made to pay for the expenses made by the Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. to bring three experts to Halifax to back a proposed gambling bill.

As revealed yesterday by Casino Reports, Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. has spent approximately CA$7,500 to bring three experts to testify in favor of the Government’s gambling bill which plans to roll out a more relaxed regime on gambling addicts who have excluded themselves from local casinos. According to Mr. McNeil, it was inappropriate for the Corporation, which is currently responsible for the regulated gaming industry of the province, to have paid for the individuals’ appearance before the Law amendments committee of the province at the beginning of the week.

Furthermore, the Premier explained that the Provincial Government was totally unaware of the decision of the Crown corporation to pay for the travel expenses of the experts it has brought to Halifax. Mr. McNeil also said that such a policy has not been a common practice in the province and added that regular residents of Nova Scotia usually appear before the committee at their own expense.

The Province’s Premier also said that he has instructed Karen Casey, the local Finance Minister, to find more details about the operation’s funding. He, however, did not provide more details about that.

Experts Back More Relaxed Regime for Gambling Addicts’ Casino Ban

Yesterday, the Finance Minister herself commented on the case yesterday, saying that she was unaware of the Crown corporation’s decision to pay for the travel costs bill of the experts brought to testify to the Committee.

Ms. Casey, however, said that she does not support the decision of Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. to pay for the expenses. At the time when she was asked about the recuperation of the money from the corporation which pretty much operates on local taxpayers’ funding through gambling profits, the Finance Minister failed to provide any specific details. She explained that she had asked her deputy to meet with the corporation and make sure that some adjustments were made in its budget so that Nova Scotia taxpayers are not made to pay for the experts’ expenses after all.

“I believe the intent of the gaming corp. was to have that expert opinion here.” – Finance Minister Karen Casey

Yesterday, a spokesman of the corporation explained that the travel costs of Sue Birgie, Jon Kelly and Jamie Wiebe who appeared before the Law amendments committee of Nova Scotia to back the proposed government’s bill which would impose a more relaxed regime on problem gamblers’ permanent ban from casinos.

Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. has been aimed at bringing some changes to the Voluntary Exclusion Program which was previously implemented by Premier McNeil’s Government.

Under the ongoing program, compulsive gamblers who ask to be banned from casinos in Halifax and Sydney are suspended from entering such venues forever. In case that an individual wants to have their ban lifted, they need to go through an investigation into their personal and financial affairs and need to appear before the Utility and Review Board of Nova Scotia. The changes sought by the Crown corporation are set to make the casino ban shorter in order for former problem gamblers to be given the chance to enter such venues again.