Loto-Québec’s finances are holding strong.
The Crown corporation posted strong results from its first fiscal quarter (April 1 – June 27, 2022), including a total generated revenue of $744.4 million. Overall, the operation’s net income settled at $446.5 million – jumps of 85.5% and 128.1% over last year, respectively.
With inflation and a pandemic lingering, the efforts were no small feat, said Loto-Québec president and CEO Jean-Francois Bergeron.
“We’re pleased with our first-quarter results. We’ve exceeded our pre-pandemic levels and are in an excellent position due to tight spending controls, which can be challenging in times of high inflation such as these. These achievements are a result of the remarkable work put in by all of our teams.”
Loto-Quebec revenues beat pre-pandemic highs
Financial increases – in many ways – are no surprise.
After all, COVID protocols essentially handcuffed casinos and gaming establishments. So, in that way, the baseline remained understandably low.
Pre-pandemic numbers would, thus, be a fairer comparison.
To that end, the French-speaking agency increased its net income by $109.1 million or 32.4% compared to the first quarter of 2019 – 2020 (defined as pre-pandemic). The ratio of total expenses-to-revenue also dropped (31.2% to 22.7%) during the same time frame.
Loto-Québec remains on track to meet financial goals
It hasn’t been all roses, though.
Recently, Loto-Québec found itself amid a 455-employee strike. Wages, working hours and telework were the top concerns.
Thankfully, both parties resolved the matter in late September. But not before the drama cost Loto-Québec the opportunity to launch a new and improved Lotto 6/49 in concert with the rest of Canada.
Annoyance was aplenty. But, in the grand scheme, Bergeron still likes where his company stands.
“With these strong financial results, we’re on track to meet our budget target, even though draw-based lottery ticket sales were suspended. That said, we’d like to thank the teams who worked so hard to resolve the issues we were experiencing.”
Single-event betting sees massive spike in online sales
In the future, single-event betting could help compensate for that lost revenue.
Legalized on Aug.27, 2021, single-game betting has materially changed the Canadian betting landscape.
On the one hand, provincial lotteries have already seen significant returns on post-decriminalization. For instance, the government agency reported a 33.3% increase in event betting’s online sales compared to the first quarter of 2021 – 2022.
“Single-event betting, which was added to the gaming options in August 2021, is very popular with players and strongly encourages live betting.”
Lotteries push back against illegal operators
On the other hand, there is a downside.
Alongside the decriminalization of single-event betting came Ontario’s iGaming market launch on April 4, 2022.
Major operators aplenty, and today most Canadians are regularly bombarded with advertisements. Beyond the obvious implications, one of the growing concerns remains consumer awareness.
In Canada, gambling is only legal when regulated by provincial governments. However, often – because advertisements run across multiple provinces – consumers are unaware of their local restrictions.
Grey markets, illegal bets and millions of dollars escaping provincial lotteries are the result.
In mid-August, a new pan-Canadian group of provincial lottery corporations formed a coalition to address the issue. Loto-Québec is a member. Its leaders want the feds to crack down on excessive advertisements and grey markets – among other things.
New “100% Legal” campaign takes on offside operators
Anti-grey market messaging is nothing new at Loto-Québec, however.
In May, the corporation rolled out the new phase of an education-based campaign on the topic.
“We launched a new phase of our 100% Legal campaign to remind people that lotoquebec.com is the only legal casino and sports betting website in Quebec. This campaign is part of our brand repositioning strategy and our effort to cement our place in the industry. It also highlights our integrity and our responsible gambling practices, which are a great source of pride for us.”
Loto-Quebec shifts direction with charitable twist
Today, Loto-Quebec is undertaking a different type of mission.
Recently the company launched the second edition of its lottery game, Loto-o-suivant. The follow-up supports charities with the sale of $2 scratch tickets.
In total, 50 players will win $10,000 on Nov.15. Loto-Quebec will match the prizes, donating to a charitable organization of each winner’s choice.
CEO and executive vice-president of lottery games Isabelle Jean said, via a statement, it is a nice changeup for the business.
“When we launched the first edition last year, it was touching to see how moved the winners were to be able to make a $10,000 donation to a cause they care about, and how appreciative the charities they chose were to receive these donations. So we’re thrilled to be launching the Loto-o-suivant lottery game again this fall.”