P.E.I. Introduces News Responsible Gambling Strategy

The Province of Prince Edward Island has recently introduced its first new responsible gambling strategy since an approach was announced back in 2008. Back in the day, the largest concerns regarding problem gambling stemmed from video lottery terminals. But today, the province believes that the biggest alarms are related to the popularity of online gambling.

A couple of years ago, P.E.I.’s government had plans to follow other Atlantic provinces and introduce an online casino platform in collaboration with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. However, those plans stalled, as the initiative raised concerns among locals about its possible negative impact and it led to talks about renewing the province’s responsible play strategy.

Internet Gambling is a Threat

Finance Minister Jill Burridge also noted that in current times, internet gambling is one of the major concerns. She said that in the last 15 years, the industry has changed and moved towards digitalization. That is why the province needs a new strategy to help it manage gambling in a responsible manner and she explained there are no plans for iGaming at the time.

P.E.I.’s new strategy is developed by consulting firm MRSB on behalf of the P.E.I. Lotteries Commission, recommends the province to introduce player cards for casino games and VLTs. These will be utilized to implement deposit and loss limits and provide feedback on playing habits. It also calls for the province to remove VLTs from sites that promote alcohol use while gambling, or prolonged play.

It should be mentioned that the launch of the province’s initial responsible gambling strategy contained a cap on VLTs and a consolidation in terms of where they are installed. Hence, moving some from private bars and community centres to the province’s two provincially-run casinos. Meanwhile, the new strategy advises funding to responsible gaming programs to remain unchanged at a minimum of 1.5% of net gambling proceeds.

Other recommendations from the strategy feature one that the province should limit the ability for Islanders to gamble using credit cards at casinos and limit access to ATMs at VLT locations. There is also one stating the government should work with experts to find higher-risk digital games, while also funding a study to examine the long-term impact of iGaming on gambling prevalence in the region.

iGaming Plans Raise Concerns

Shortly after the announcement of the plans for a provincially-run online casino platform in platform, experts such as David Hodgins from the University of Calgary opposed the idea. The expert believes that despite bringing new players to the scene, the launch of such a website in the province might worsen compulsive gambling conditions for many individuals.

However, in response, Finance Minister at the time, Darlene Compton commented that the Island must keep up with the rest of the provinces which already offer such legal online services. And that the platform’s launch was in order to keep gamblers from illegal wagering websites, where players’ health is not exactly first on the agenda.

Source: Campbell, Kerry “P.E.I. develops new strategy, but offers no new funding to combat problem gamblingCBC News, September 18, 2023

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Yolina has followed closely the latest development on the Canadian gaming scene over the past years, monitoring the land-based, lottery, and online offerings up for grabs. The dynamic nature of the local lottery and casino fields, as well as the opportunities lying ahead of Canada fire her enthusiasm for what is to come. A sports betting enthusiast, in her spare time Yolina could be found in her natural habitat – turning the pages of biographies and catching up on the latest stand-up comedy podcasts.