Article published on 24 January 2014

VLT Centre Opens in Halifax

Online Gaming Easier to Access than VLTs
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The Shubenacadie First Nation has opened a new video lottery terminal gaming centre in Halifax, in the suburb known as Hammonds Plains. The VLT centre that has opened in Halifax is located on territory that belongs to this First Nation. The centre will be open between the whole week from 9am until midnight.

Halifax Residents Object to VLT Centre

While the Shubenacadie First Nation has opened this gaming venue within its legal rights, there has been some objection from Halifax locals who feel that the introduction of this video lottery centre will increase gambling addiction in the area. The new centre is fairly small, and will only have 45 video lottery terminals.

Joanne Worden has said: "This is not economic development. It's money going into a machine."

Worden is of the opinion that the video lottery terminal centre should not have been opened in this location and has suggested that a different business should have been opened. Her suggestions included a fitness centre, a gas station, or even a convenience store. She felt that the neighbourhood is a more family style area, and that the business that was opened should have taken that more into account.

Shubenacadie First Nation Backs Up Its Decision

Nathan Sask, director of operations for the community that is made up of about 2,500 people, has explained that the revenue will be used to help the communities bad housing situation. He explained that there are many large families that are living in small houses, and that there is a general housing shortage in the community. The houses that are available are often poorly maintained due to lack of funds.

Funds that have been raised from other video lottery terminals outside of Halifax, have brought in revenue that has been used for housing, infrastructure, and education, amongst other things.

Of the 13 First Nations that are in Nova Scotia, eleven of them already operate video lottery terminals in a number of locations. These VLTs are operated under the guidelines of an agreement with the provincial government, and have raised millions of dollars that have been much needed for the First Nation communities.

Both a school and a civic centre have been opened with funds from the VLT centres noted Bob Gloade. He further said: "None of it would have been possible without our gaming facilities. You name it. It covers a large gamut of services to our membership."

With online gambling so easily accessible in Canada, one might wonder why there are objections to video lottery terminals, which are less accessible than online casinos.

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