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Manitoba First Nations Seek Equality with Brand New Gaming Authority

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs wants to see improved gaming on a provincial level that could make it easier for First Nations to conduct their gaming operation on a day-to-day basis. This week saw an assembly discussing current equality levels within the province, an injustice that calls for the creation of a gaming authority including Indigenous people in the gaming conversation.

Manitoba Chiefs agreed that a First Nations Gaming Authority would be a step in the right direction. Tribal gaming operation within Manitoba is what the province is known for, as First Nations have a strong hold of the local gaming field. There are six tribal casino venues sprinkled across the province, whereas the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries oversees two commercial casino locations in Winnipeg.

First Nations Want in on the Convo

The tribal locations are usually overseen by a First Nations partnership or by a single nation. The six locations are Aseneskak Casino, Niichi Gaming & Leisure Centre, South Beach Casino & Resort, Sand Hills Casino, Swan Lake First Nation Gaming Centre #7, and Swan Lake First Nation Gaming Centre #8a. Players have the chance to experience the thrill of tribal casino gaming but more work has to be done when it comes to gambling on a provincial level.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs dedicated this week to gaming conversation aiming to improve the tribal experience. First Nations people have previously expressed their discontentment with their inclusion in the gaming conversation. What triggered conversation was last year’s gaming review conducted by Manitoba’s government. As it was later reported by the tribal nations, they were not included in it.

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said that not including the tribal nations overseeing gambling operation in the conversation is unacceptable, as they also could contribute to the solution of many present challenges. The six tribal casinos also attract quite the crowd of patrons on an annual basis, having a lasting impact on the local gaming field. Feeling the injustice, the assembly decided to act on its own.

Manitoba Government Conducted a Review

Chiefs agreed that a First Nations Gaming Authority would improve the current situation while giving tribal nations the freedom to work towards better conditions together with Manitoba’s government. One of the first subjects that would need discussion would be the revenue sharing agreement. Local First Nations want to follow the established revenue sharing model of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, implementing it in their day-to-day operation.

Over fiscal 2018-2019, video lottery terminals operation within the province amassed profit reaching CA$116.1 million. The tribal nations received some CA$61.8 million from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, but when all is said and done, the model is not the most profitable for indigenous people overseeing locations featuring VLT operation.

The future authority would aim to guarantee better and mutually-beneficial conditions for Manitoba’s First Nations. Moreover, Mr. Dumas pointed out that Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is now aiming to introduce a change towards the revenue sharing agreements of video lottery terminal revenue. The goal is to transform it into a 30:70 arrangement with Veterans’ organizations.