Casino News

Manitoba to Explore Online Gaming Expansion

Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation recently shared some ideas of generating more revenue, as the Crown corporation attempts to bounce off from the impacts of the unprecedented situation. One thing that is under consideration is the expansion of its online gambling sector since it will be able to generate more revenue after the turbulent 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Similar to many other businesses, the period after the occurrence of the unprecedented situation in March 2020, has not been easy on the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation. During that time, the Crown agency had to close down its gaming properties across the province, thus making it significantly more difficult on its financial situation.

Revenue Slowly Recovering

On Tuesday, during a legislative committee hearing, the Crown corporation revealed its financial report for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Its President and CEO Manny Atwal also commented that the company is slowly bouncing back financially. The corporation expects to see even further improvement for the current fiscal year, as casinos have stayed open for a huge portion of it.

For the 2020-21 fiscal performance, the Crown agency managed to generate a net income of CA$425 million. For the current year, the company is expected to hit CA$570 which is a significant improvement over last yearโ€™s result. But the amount is still down from the CA$606 million reported in 2019-20 before the occurrence of the virus.

As already mentioned, the Crown agency is now considering expanding its online set of gambling offerings. According to estimations, for the current fiscal year, the corporation expects to see revenue in the size of CA$50 to CA$60 million from online wagering on its regulated online gaming platform PlayNow.com. However, Mr. Atwal said that the platform faces major competition from illegal or grey-market sites, as many gamblers moved into such.

The President and CEO believes that PlayNow will be able to take over the local iGaming market with stronger brand awareness and marketing. Mr. Atwal knows that the committee has already heard suggestions of expanding the online gaming field in the province, but he belies that it is something that must be done, and make it more popular among Manitobans.

More 2021 Highlights

After being closed down for quite some time between March 2020 and the summer of last year, the Crown agency managed to restart work at casinos in July 2021. Club Regent Casino and McPhillips Station Casino both renewed operations on July 28, 2021, as both opened doors for fully vaccinated guests. As casinos were once again able to work, they managed to accumulate some revenue for the corporation.

In addition to that, back in April 2021, the province endured some digitalization of its gaming amenities. Electronic table games were installed at Club Regent Casino, McPhillips Station Casino, and the Shark Club Gaming Centre. Over 150 staff members were offered a voluntary buyout. According to the Crown, over 124 have accepted it, 24 returned and two were laid off.

Source: Froese, Ian โ€œAs revenues improve, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries wants to try luck with online gaming expansionโ€, CBC News, January 11, 2022