The following is a statement from PC Critic for Addictions and Mental Health John Lohr:
I wrote to Finance Minister Karen Casey last week to express my grave concern that the Atlantic Lottery Corporation is considering taking the casino business to the internet with high-stakes online gambling.
I won’t mince words. This is dangerous. Gambling is a serious addiction that has plagued families from every corner of this province. Making it so those struggling with addiction need look no further than their smartphone or their desktop is wrong, and is certainly wrong during a pandemic.
Headline after headline has shown that above all else, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on mental health in this country, and this decision would make that problem worse.
Atlantic Lotto has strong brand recognition and trust in Atlantic Canada. This will attract individuals who would otherwise never walk through the doors of a casino or gamble online, with many of them vulnerable to developing an addiction.
People must come before profits — full stop.
The timing of even the discussions of bringing gambling into the digital world is inappropriate if not tone deaf. I am respectfully calling on the Liberal government to put it on the back burner.