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Alberta Introduces Electronic Bingo, Casino Moratorium Lifted

23 October 2001

EDMONTON, Alberta –– As reported by the Canadian Press: "The Alberta government announced Monday it will introduce electronic gambling in bingo halls and lift its moratorium on casinos in January. But the province maintained its cap on video lottery terminals at 6,000 machines and called for mandatory training of staff in casinos, bingo halls and VLT sites to recognize problem gamblers.

"Gaming Minister Ron Stevens said consumer demand for gambling has to be tempered by public acceptance and its social impacts.

"…He said no new casinos will be approved without the endorsement of the communities in which they are located.

"…The move to allow bingo associations to introduce electronic keno and bingo is a result of a decade-long drop in attendance at bingo halls, including a 15-per-cent decline since 1997-98.

"…The new moves, resulting from a 20-month review of the province's gaming licence policies, prompted an immediate outcry from anti-gambling groups and provincial opposition parties.

"…Liberal gaming critic Laurie Blakeman said the province is addicted to gambling revenue, which has risen to more than $1 billion last year from $220 million a decade ago.

"…VLTs are currently available at 1,260 locations in Alberta, but the province plans to force hotels that have several VLT licences in a number of bars and lounges to consolidate them in one entertainment room…"

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