Nova Scotia Drops Mandatory Play Tracking

Nova Scotia casinos will stop requiring players to use the card-based My-Play System, which has been in use since April 2012. Minister Andrew Younger said most people did not use the system, which was designed to prevent non-problem gamblers from becoming VLT addicts. Installing and operating the My-Play System cost nearly $20 million.

Nova Scotia’s provincial government announced it will switch the My-Play System from mandatory to voluntary and start disabling certain aspects of the technology altogether on September 8. Designed to prevent non-problem gamblers from becoming addicted to video lottery terminals, the My-Play System was installed on Nova Scotia VLTs in April 2012. But, said Andrew Younger, the minister responsible for Part I of the Gaming Control Act, “While the My-Play System may have been a reasonable attempt to improve responsible gaming features on VLTs, in the end, it did not reduce play by people with gambling addictions, and in fact, the vast majority of play sessions didn’t even use the main features of the product,” Younger said.

Developed by Cape Breton-based Techlink Entertainment, the card-based My-Play System gives players information about their current and past VLT activity, and lets them set a spending and/or time limit and stop play immediately.

Younger noted, “In addition to providing responsible gambling programs and being mindful of people with gambling addictions, we must also be mindful of public dollars. We have reached the conclusion that, given the system does not work as intended, further spending of public dollars on it is not reasonable.” The total cost of the My Play System was $19.5 million, including $13.1 million for capital costs and the remainder on development and operation of the system, said Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation spokesperson Stacy O’Rourke.

Progressive Conservative Chris d’Entremont, a critic of gaming control, said, “Turning to problem gamblers to balance the budget is not competent fiscal management.” He stated scrapping the My-Play System without replacing it with an alternative solution is “immoral.”

Leo Glavine, Minister of Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness, said, “We continue to offer gambling support services throughout the province for all Nova Scotians, and I would encourage anyone affected by problem gambling to please call the Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-888-347-8888 or seek assistance through their local health provider.”