With Maines first slot machines slated to go into operation in November, the state is getting ready to respond to the prospect of an increase in the problem of gambling addiction. Maine now has no sta - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Nova Scotias gaming corporation has released a contract it says will help implement its responsible gaming programs, while giving the province more control over its two casinos.

The 10-year deal, which took effect July 1, completes the $73.7-million U.S. sale of the casinos in Halifax and Sydney, N.S., to Great Canadian Gaming Corp. of Richmond, B.C.

The sale was announced in May.

Gaming corporation head Marie Mullally says the 94-page document is significant because it puts the governments gaming strategy at the forefront.

New provisions mean the operator will have to implement suggestions by the corporation, including the type and number of slot machines or gambling tables and where they are placed.

Mullally says the corporation learned from its experience over the past 10 years with previous owner, Las Vegas-based Ceasars Entertainment Inc.

``We learned that we needed to have more say in how the business was run, says Mullally.

``Under our old contract our primary approval rights were around the budget, but we now have the ability to approve the business plans the marketing and promotional strategies and the policies and procedures that are used to operate the business day to day.

Great Canadian is subject to beefed-up provisions that will see it submit its annual business and budget plan to the corporation for approval.

The corporation will also have the right to commission an independent audit of the operations financial records.

Mullally adds the new deal will also see the province get its fair share of casino revenues through a larger portion of the operators fee.

``Were not looking at growing the pie, but rather we want a better share of the existing pie.

Mullally says the new model, which will see the operator get 55.5 per cent of its revenue, will generate an additional $48 million for the province over the next 10 years.

But Liberal Leader Francis MacKenzie says he has some serious concerns about a contract he calls ``extremely vague.

The real story is what we havent seen, says MacKenzie.

``There are more things that have to be looked at and the sooner we look at them were going to find out what the true motivation of this government is.

NDP gaming critic Graham Steele is on vacation and couldnt be

reached for comment.

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