This week, the Province of Saskatchewan is writing history, as it has launched its first regulated online platform for gambling and sports wagering. On Thursday, November 3, 2022, the province launched PlayNow, where eligible bettors will be able to play casino games and wager on their preferred sporting event in a fun but responsible manner.
The launch of PlayNow comes a year after the federal Canadian government decriminalized single-event wagering, which opened up numerous possibilities for the industry. PlayNow is owned by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and in Saskatchewan will be managed by Sask. Gaming, and operated by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority and regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.
Now Up and Running
Shanna Schulhauser, the director of communications with the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation commented that the opening of the iGaming sector in the province was possible after the historic agreement between the corporation and the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. The agreement was announced last year. She said that the launch was also tremendous news for economic reconciliation in the province.
According to Sask. Gaming, the digital platform comes with over 500 casino games and a full suite of world-class sports betting offerings. Profits from the websites will be split evenly between the province and FSIN, thus supporting economic development, health care, education, and plenty of community services in the province. It is projected that it would generate CA$60 million in four years.
Due to the legalization of single-sports betting, there has been an abundance of ads and promotions in the industry. Ms. Schulhauser elaborated that this is why the province has selected PlayNow, as it boasts some tremendous responsible gambling features. The site offers pop-up reminders of time and money spent, as well as problem gambling referral information and advisors available 24/7.
PlayNow is already online in B.C., Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, which gave the province a chance to making its research before going all in on sports gambling, said Ms. Schulhauser. She also shared that she is pleased to celebrate more gaming revenue staying in the province, as the new online portal should attract bettors from the grey market.
2021-2022 Fiscal Numbers
In July, SaskGaming reported its fiscal numbers for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. For the FY, the corporation tremendous recovery from the previous year, as it generated over CA$19.1 million in net revenue. The rejuvenation in proceeds can be explained by the fact that the province eased health and safety protocols, which allowed casino properties to return to normal.
In its report, the agency said that it accumulated revenue of CA$77.8 million, which is a significant increase over last year’s CA$30.9 million. Expenses have also increased for the fiscal year, as the corporation shared that they have hit CA$58.7 million, while for 2020-2021 expenses were significantly lower and amounted to approximately CA$44.3 million.
Source: Sorokan, Keenan “Province launches first legal online gambling website”, CTV News Saskatoon, November 4, 2022