Using the PlayNow software developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, the province of Saskatchewan successfully launched its first regulated online gambling platform at the end of 2022. This past week, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority published the fiscal year 2022-23. The study revealed that the expansion of online gambling had gotten off to an excellent start and earned significant earnings in its first year of operation.
The launch of BCLC's PlayNow Casino on 3 November 2022 in Saskatchewan was the first instance of legally sanctioned online gambling in the province. The intentions with the new market are two-sided, aiming to lure provincial bettors away from unregulated websites, which do not prioritise the safety and security of their player, and maintaining a portion of the money for the province.
Profits in First Fiscal Year with PlayNow Casino
SIGA revealed in its report that the iGaming industry was profitable in its first fiscal year and accumulated 15,000 registered customers since its debut. From the beginning of November to the end of March 2023, PlayNow Casino handled CA$113 million in online slot play, CA$50 million in slot rounds, and CA$4.99 million in new winnings. Sport stakes deposits added up to CA$117k. Zane Hansen, who is the president and chief executive officer of SIGA, stated that the new iGaming mode created an intriguing new business channel with many new customers. In the coming years, the province's gaming regulator will focus on expanding PlayNow Casino's consumer base through enhanced marketing capabilities and partnerships with other gaming stakeholders. The only legitimate method for online sports wagering in the province currently is the online platform, but local participants can still access offshore and unregulated operators. There are also several legal online casinos in Canada that provide a safe and secure gaming experience on desktop and mobile devices.
In the meantime, sports enthusiasts also have access to Sport Select, a retail version of sports betting offered in the province through lottery retailers. However, in the past, bookmakers have expressed discontent with its odds availability. The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority provided its first market report at the beginning of 2023, which included a summary of November and December, the first two months of operation. The province had registered more than 8,000 users at the time. In November, the total wagering volume reached approximately CA$ 12 million, which increased to CA$ 18.2 million in December. SIGA remains Canada's only First Nations-owned corporation with a revenue-sharing 50/50 agreement for iGaming. According to Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the introduction of PlayNow Casino is another monumental accomplishment. He added that SIGA safeguards economic expansion and future opportunities for Indigenous people.
Announcement of a New Gambling Regulator
In April of this year, the government of Saskatchewan announced the establishment of Lotteries and Gaming Saskatchewan, a new Crown corporation to supervise gaming. LGS will supervise all Saskatchewan casinos, VLTs, online gambling, and lotteries in the province once it is completely operational. In addition to leading the province's gaming strategy and the Gaming Framework Agreement, the Crown Corporation will also be in charge of the province's gaming strategy and framework.
Gambling and Lotteries Minister of Crown Investments Corporation Don Morgan stated that the Saskatchewan online casino industry will adopt an comprehensive approach to the gaming sector in the province. The new Crown will enable keeping up with the ever-changing gaming landscape while preserving the province's distinct operators, including Saskatchewan Lotteries, Saskatchewan Gaming, and Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA). As the legislation maintains the current funding models, the proceeds from gaming will continue to benefit community organisations.