Nova Scotia releases its annual report on gambling... well... not really... they call it gaming and as an accounting document it is woefully short on truth.
The Annual Report on "Gaming"
Halifax's annual municipal budget is about a billion. Nova Scotia's budget is about ten billion.
Yet Nova Scotia's largest and most inequitable government controlled voluntary transfer and redistribution of wealth is probably gambling.
Last year Nova Scotian's gambled over $1.3 billion - mostly in VLTs.
You may not gamble or have a problem gambling, but this is a tragic rain that falls equally on us all - causing addiction, destroying families, erasing savings, causing children to go hungry, and ringing up vast hospital, social service, justice, and law enforcement costs that go completely unaccounted for in these government reports.
This system with its heavy overhead burden and uncalculated social costs takes disproportionately from the poorest and most vulnerable among us to support a huge bureaucracy living wholly off the broken dreams, ignorance and false hopes of the people who most need our help. Government, perpetually bureaucratic creates the very problem it then tasks itself to solve in a negative feedback loop of bureaucratic growth and addiction.
Justified only by the the fact that gambling swells the provincial treasury very few people or politicians in Nova Scotia would ever make any argument on moral or ethical grounds... for whatever reason that's just not a part of public discourse any more.
Here's a few reasons other than moral and ethical that gambling is bad for Nova Scotia:
1/ Gambling is a hidden tax
2/ It hits the poorest the hardest
3/ Minority communities and less-educated spend the most on misplaced gambling dreams
4/ Gambling redistributes money up the economic ladder
5/ Gambling gives the wrong message about solving poverty
6/ Gambling itself is unfairly taxed
7/ Legalized gambling is hypocritical compared to drug laws and other rules
8/ Even winning often ruins lives and families encouraging more debt and discord
9/ There are huge mental health, social, personal, household, and community costs unaccounted for in gambling accounting
10/ Gambling is the opposite of economic stimulus, taking money from rural communities disproportionately
Here's the best gambling advice I have for all the VLT'ers (WARNING: This is actually terrible advice!)
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.