Nova Scotian "economic development" and the rigged game

Tech Link International Entertainment loan shows how policy and economic development are hopelessly entangled.

I'm not sure how I missed this announcement last week:
A gaming technology solutions provider in Sydney is positioning itself to compete for new contract opportunities in national and international markets. The province, through Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), is supporting Tech Link International Entertainment Ltd. with a $1.5-million secured loan.

“In the early stages of growth, supporting an innovative company like Tech Link helps position it to secure international opportunities,” said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris today, Aug. 18. “Tech Link’s innovative technology and ability to compete globally is in line with the province’s jobsHere plan to grow the economy.”

Tech Link’s focus is on its Gameplan product, called My-Play in Nova Scotia, a responsible gaming technology that can be integrated into existing video lottery terminals. Gameplan was developed in partnership with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, and equips players with tools to limit and control their gaming habits.

There's a sort of brilliance in this---the government continues to deepen its dependence on VLT income, which disproportionately negatively affects VLT addicts, then papers over the addiction issues by requiring a bogus card system that supposedly monitors a gambler's usage, then props up the card company in the name of "job creation."

Is it possible that private banks think the card system will actually work, that Nova Scotia will soon run out of gambling addicts and so the entire gambling regime will come crashing down financially, and therefore won't pony up loans to Tech Link? More likely, I think, is that the government is simply providing a lower interest rate than the banks would provide.

This isn't the first time the province has given Tech Link financial assistance; the company received $2 million in taxpayer money in 2004, and another $1 million in 2007.

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