Nova Scotia To Conduct Online Gambling Survey

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia has announced that it will conduct an online gambling poll in order to study the behaviour of players with the broad objective of effectively regulating this industry. As of now, Nova Scotia is the province with the most aggressive anti-internet gambling stance. It has adopted Section 207 of the Criminal Code of Canada that makes it illegal to operate or place a bet through an offshore online casino.

Minister Michael Samson is responsible for the Gaming Control Act. He has sanctioned a budget of $100,000 for a province-wide poll. Samson wants to study an accurate number of Nova Scotian's who gamble online so that the results are meaningful. Speaking to reporters in Halifax he said, “We need to better understand how many Nova Scotians are actually participating in online poker and other casino-style games, and how often.” He added that the survey will also reveal how much these players spend on online gambling. Samson hoped that the data collected would help in discovering the issues that exist with online gambling in this province. There has been talk in the province about possible regulation. This survey will be a big help in that direction.

The Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation (NSPLCC) will conduct the research under Stacy O'Rourke, the Manager Communications for the corporation. She elucidated that without the required data, the corporation cannot determine if there are problem gambling issues that need to be addressed. She admitted that regulating the Internet will be a huge challenge for them. The least they will look at is identifying what measures need to be put in place to ensure that Nova Scotia residents have ways to get more information if they need it, particularly on problem gambling. A part of the study will be carried out by the research firm MQO, which will conduct up to 10,000 telephone surveys.

The study will focus on the last 12 months of wagering activity so as to get relevant data. The Responsible Gambling Strategy was first adopted by Nova Scotia in 2011 and the NSPLCC started to focus on the effects of online gambling in terms of "health and well-being" as well as on the social and economic impacts. The Department of Health and Wellness will also work with the NSPLCC. The proposed time frame is to complete the study by the end of December. Six months after this will be required to analyze correlate the data and any action will be taken only after that.

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