05/25/2012 08:09 EDT | Updated 07/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Atlantic Lottery replacing old VLTs

The Atlantic Lottery Corp. plans to replace nearly 6,000 old video lottery terminals in the region.

ALC, which manages gambling in the four Atlantic provinces, says the machines are obsolete and parts aren't available anymore.

Spokeswoman Courtney Pringle-Carver said a typical VLT lasts between seven and 10 years.

"Many of our terminals are in fact older than that and we currently have the oldest VLTs of any jurisdiction in Canada," she said Thursday.

ALC started the process to find suppliers two years ago. It says it will spend nearly $93 million to buy approximately 5,900 new machines, which will roll out starting this fall.

Techlink Entertainment has won a contract to build 1,000 of them. The Cape Breton-based company designs and manufactures gambling equipment.

Important contract

CEO John Xidos said the contract is a big deal for Techlink given the "David and Goliath" industry.

"It was tough. I mean, we were up against the biggest and best in the world," he said.

Because of this contract, Xidos said, Techlink is entering markets in the United States, including South Dakota, West Virginia and Louisiana.

"So we are hoping for big things," he said.

SPIELO International Canada, based in Moncton, will provide 1,700 new VLTs. IGT and Bally also have contracts.

ALC says it's not adding to the total number of machines in Atlantic Canada, it's just replacing old ones.

It also says the VLTs will continue to have features such as forced cashouts and reminders of how long a gambler has been playing.