Member of the Legislative Assembly Suggests Changes to the NWT’s Lotteries Act

February 26, 2024 | Government

Allowing New Opportunities Such as Land-Based Casinos, Could Transform the Territory’s Economy

Yellowknife, NT (February 25, 2024) — Range Lake MLA Kieron Testart told the  Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly on Friday morning that changes to the NWT’s Lotteries Act that would allow new opportunities such as land-based casinos, arguing more gambling could transform the territory’s economy and saying it’s a “cornerstone of our northern culture.”

Municipal and community affairs minister Vince McKay agreed the Lotteries Act needs a refresh and said he’s willing to take a look at it.

However, Sarah Pruys (Cabin Radio) reported  McKay cautioned any changes to the act – a document just over a page long that was last amended in 2018 – would require consultation with Indigenous governments and the Council of Leaders. The accompanying and longer Lotteries Regulations were last updated in 2011.

The Maca minister said he could bring the Lotteries Act forward as a potential topic of discussion for the Council of Leaders, but could not guarantee it would make it onto the next agenda.

“We need to cut the red tape and regulations that hold us back from joining the rest of Canada,” Sarah Pruys reported Testart said.

Testart invited political colleagues to close their eyes and “imagine a hotel and resort sitting on the shores of the big lakes, raking in cold, hard cash from eager tourists, enriching the coffers of Indigenous and public governments.”

Testart said casinos, video lottery terminals (VLTs) and online betting are “billion-dollar opportunities.” He said the NWT has a small but popular gambling and gaming industry that could capture more of these revenues.

“Let’s not shy away from this cornerstone of our northern culture and instead find a way to work with Indigenous governments to make new economic opportunities out of these traditions,” he said, suggesting encouraging private gaming enterprise would help make the NWT a “world-class destination” while also creating revenue for the territorial government.

Article article written by: Sarah Pruys (Sarah is a co-owner of Cabin Radio who has reported for the station since 2018).

SOURCE: Cabin Radio.