Canada online gaming profits will go to mental health, P.E.I. finance minister promises

in Lottery

P.E.I.'s finance minister has promised profits from online gaming forwarded by Atlantic Lottery Corporation will be spent on mental health and addictions, as she answers questions about a recent deal authorizing an online casino.

In the legislature earlier this week, Liberal MLA Robert Henderson tabled an ALC business plan that pitched an online casino as a great opportunity during the pandemic. It was a plan the province eventually bought into.

Finance Minister Darlene Compton responded by saying ALC's online casino is about providing Islanders with a safe place to play, posing an alternative to less secure sites based overseas.

Compton went further in the legislature Thursday, promising to set aside the profits, which are now going to general revenue, for a specific purpose

"We can earmark the amount that is coming from online gaming and put it directly to mental health and addictions," said Compton.

"I want to assure Islanders, it's not about making money for the province, it's not about exploiting Islanders, it's about using the funds that are accessed through Atlantic Lottery Corporation to P.E.I."

Compton acknowledged gambling addiction is an issue in the province, with about two per cent of Islanders having a problem with gambling.

The finance minister did not specify whether her promise would necessarily mean an increase in funding for mental health and addictions.