Industry Reports

Manitoba VLT Locations Welcome Players amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Manitobans are still interested in participating in video lottery terminals gaming despite the outspreading novel coronavirus. Half of the popular gaming terminals were switched off earlier this month, but the measure leaves something to be desired, according to local hotel managers. An unnamed hotel General Managed made it clear that all of those machines have to be off for the social distancing to be effective.

Manitoba is one of the provinces witnessing a relatively smaller number of individuals contracting the novel coronavirus in Canada. There are now 72 confirmed COVID-19 cases within the province. As of March 28, eight new individuals witnessed a positive coronavirus test which has called for more investigation into the people closely related to them and their subsequent testing for the novel coronavirus.

Manitoba Players Fond of VLTs

The majority of the confirmed cases hail from Winnipeg, as 60 of those people are residents of the region. In these trying times, social distancing is the way to go, as this practice is about to have a positive impact on the speed at which the highly contagious virus is spreading across the province. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries made it clear last week that some changes would be needed.

The Crown corporation overseeing the local gambling field announced it is about to remotely switch off half of the existing video lottery terminals sprinkled across the province. However, there are still gaming devices witnessing daily use by locals and there are concerns that the social distancing is not as effectively implemented as it should be. A General Manager of a Winnipeg hotel had some thoughts to share.

The individual who would remain anonymous made it clear that the nearly 2,500 active video lottery terminals are still a tempting in-person gaming product that places patrons in an enclosed space with other likeminded people. He pointed out that he has witnessed with his eyes that the gaming devices were rearranged in a way that promotes social distancing between the players.

Dynamic Situation

However, the distance between them was not enough to be considered an efficient measure implemented. The ongoing operation of the said devices is considered a health risk for the people ready to try their luck, as he sees things. The mandatory distance between people in an enclosed space has been pinpointed at six feet. The General Manager in question wanted to remain anonymous out of fear for their relationship with the Crown corporation.

They also made it clear that video lottery terminals should not be considered an essential business in need of operation while many brick-and-mortar casinos and gaming halls remain closed. On a provincial level, the public locations boasting those gaming devices are able to generate some CA$199 million in gaming revenue on an annual basis and their regular operation is important for the provincial project they support.

It could be recalled that earlier this month Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries put an end to the daily operation at McPhillips Station Casino, Club Regent Casino, and the Shark Club Gaming Centre in Winnipeg. Casino staff members were concerned about their payment, as they were informed that they will only be paid by the end of March. Video lottery locations still in operation can make their own choice whether to continue operation, a Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries spokesperson said.