In late 2022, the Province of Saskatchewan launched its first regulated iGaming platform by utilizing British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s, PlayNow. This week, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority issued its annual 2022-23 report, which confirmed that the online gaming expansion was off to a great start and generated solid profits in its first fiscal year.
BCLC’s PlayNow went online in Saskatchewan on November 3, 2022, marking the first legal online gambling market for the province. The aim of the new market was to draw away provincial bettors from unregulated websites, where player protections are not on the agenda, while also being able to keep some of the revenue for the province.
First FY for iGaming Sector
In its report, SIGA shared that the market registered 15,000 customers since the debut of the market and that the iGaming sector was profitable in its first fiscal year. PlayNow reported that it has handled CA$113 million in online slot play from the November start to the end of March 2023, CA$50 million in slot spins, and CA$4.99 million in new wins. With only CA$117k placed on sports wagers.
SIGA President and CEO Zane Hansen commented that the kicking off of the new igaming mode has brought an exciting new business channel with many new customers. He explained that in the next few years, the regulator will concentrate on the development of PlayNow’s customer base through enhanced marketing capabilities and partnerships with other gaming stakeholders in the province.
Currently, the online platform is the only legal manner for online sports betting in the province, but still, local players can access offshore and unregulated operators. Meanwhile, sports fans also have Sport Select, which is a retail version of sports wagering available in the province via lottery retailers. However, previously, bettors expressed dissatisfaction with its odds availability.
At the start of 2023, SIGA provided its first report on the market with a recap of November and December, which were the first two months of operation. At the time, the province had registered more than 8,000 users. In November total betting handle reached approximately CA$12 million and December saw an even larger one with CA$18.2 million.
Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations remarked that the launch of PlayNow is another massive achievement, as SIGA is the only First Nations-owned company to have a 50-50 sharing agreement for iGaming revenue in Canada. He added that SIGA is securing future economic opportunities and expansion for the Indigenous people.
Announcing New Gambling Regulator
This April, Saskatchewan’s government announced the launch of another Crown corporation to oversee gaming, Lotteries and Gaming Saskatchewan. According to the province, the new entity will be monitoring gaming policy and management. It is also aimed to eliminate real or perceived conflicts as a result of both licensing and regulatory bodies being under SLGA jurisdiction.
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “Provider of Saskatchewan’s Sole Legal Sports Betting Site Reports Profitable Start” Covers, July 20, 2023