The name Nova Scotia is known all over the world, a unique and beautiful part of the Great North that is home to close to a million people. Nova Scotia is latin for “New Scotland” which hails back to the early settlers in this area. The first European settlers here were the French in 1605, before the British conquest of the area in 1710.
These days Nova Scotia is one of the smaller and quainter cities in Canada, but it is still home to a lot of people and a lot of tourists, which goes someway to explaining why the gambling industry is so big here.
Gambling in Nova Scotia
All gambling in this region, as is the case in the rest of the country, is overseen by the Criminal Code of Canada. This covers all laws in Canada, not just gambling, but there is a large section that covers gambling in its many forms. This code is not altogether clear, but it does state that gambling in most forms, both online and offline, is legal here.
According to the official Gambling Awareness organisation in the region, 47,000 adults are at risk of developing gambling issues. This does not mean that there are only 47,000 gamblers in Nova Scotia, the figure is actually much higher than that and that number only accounts for the ones with whom gambling is already an issue or is quickly becoming an issue.
Gambling has pretty much increased year on year in this region, and as far back as 2009 it was reported that close to $1,5 billion was wagered across the board. A report also concluded that more than $9 out of every $10 wagered was from those who gamble on a regular basis, which suggests that Nova Scotia does not necessarily have a lot of casual gamblers and that the majority of gamblers are hardened gamblers with the potential of addiction.
There is also a lot of gambling advertisements, and a recent report regarding this further cemented the notion that casual gambling does not exist as a past-time with the common people in the region. The report concluded that more than half of all residents in Nova Scotia think the amount of advertisements promoting gambling is too much.
VLTS and Lotteries
A lot of the money in the region is gambled on Video Lottery Terminals, often shortened to VLTs, which are electronic games that are based entirely on luck. These are somewhat unique to Canada, but they do exist in other forms and go by other names elsewhere in the world. These machines tend to have the highest rates of addictions, as they are programmed to trigger the reward centres of the brain. They also offer fast and instant gambling, which can make them hard to step away from for some people. Reports run by gambling organizations in the region suggest that for every 4 people playing on these machines, 1 of them will develop a serious issue and at least 2 others will come close to doing so.
The actual lotteries in this region are not as big and it has been reported that whilst VLT gamblers spend between $5k and $6k on their game of choice every year, those who invest in the lottery do so at a rate of just $500 a year. This is still a lot of money to spend on something that relies entirely on chance and something which few people walk away from as winners, but it pales in comparison to the VLT machines.
Other Gambling in Nova Scotia
As with lotteries, casino gambling is not very big in Nova Scotia, but it is much bigger than standard lotteries and bingos. The majority of casino gamblers turn to online casinos, with large numbers of Canadians joining casinos like Spin Palace, but they also spend a great deal of time and money in land-based casinos, such as the Casino Nova Scotia.
Sports books are also common, although whilst VLTs and casinos attract both sexes and all ages (VLTs are notorious for attracting the same amounts of young men and women as they do the older, “slot junkie” crowd) sports betting is typically reserved for men. It is more common in men from the ages of 20 upwards, whereas horse racing, which can also be found in abundance in this region, tends to be more common in men aged 40 and upwards. Gambling never used to be a young man’s game, but it seems that in the modern world, with easy access to gambling in all of its forms, that is changing.
In recent years, more and more gamblers are turning to online gambling. Whether this is down to the advanced technology, the increased availability or the fact that the older generations that had tuned their noses up at online gambling are now making way for a younger generation that was born into the internet age, is up for interpretation. What we do know is that the online casinos are taking advantage of this, looking at regions like Nova Scotia, and at Canada on the whole, and seeing a market that has not been fully tapped and is waiting for an online gambling revolution.