Saskatchewan is the only Canadian province that hasn’t rolled out any form of regulated online gambling.
But that’s about to change.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and the Saskatchewan government signed an amendment to create a legal framework for a new online gaming site. FSIN represents the 74 First Nations communities within Saskatchewan’s borders.
“The FSIN Chiefs-in-Assembly gave the mandate to secure this, and we are excited to finally have achieved it. Many hours, days, weeks, months, and years have gone into making this a reality. It makes it all worthwhile,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron.
“This will bring in new revenue opportunities that will benefit our 74 First Nations communities. Even during the challenging COVID pandemic, we are continuing to work hard to bring positive outcomes for our First Nations.”
An Important day for SIGA
FSIN’s non-profit Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) and the provincially-owned Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SaskGaming) made the landmark deal. The Gaming Framework Agreement (GFA) amendment carries a 50/50 revenue split between FSIN and the Province.
SIGA and SaskGaming also signed a Letter of Intent, establishing general terms to create a legal framework for a new site. The new online casino gaming and sports betting website, operated by SIGA and managed by SaskGaming, will be launched in 2022.
SIGA currently operates seven casinos in Saskatchewan under the GFA. All profits from SIGA’s casino operations go to First Nation communities.
“This is an important day for SIGA, as we continue to evolve with a changing gaming industry and in our delivery of entertainment options for our customers,” said SIGA Chair Chief Reginald Bellerose.
“The additional revenue opportunities from online gaming and sports betting will only increase SIGA’s ability as a non-profit to positively impact employment, economic growth, positive community relations and financial self-reliance of First Nations in the province.”
“This new online gaming site will be a safe, regulated and secure platform that will fall under existing responsible gambling practices,” added Don Morgan, Minister responsible for SaskGaming.
“This site will have measures and resources in place to support players and protect privacy while also contributing to the social and economic wellbeing of Saskatchewan.”
Sports betting: off to a strong start
Since single-event sports betting legislation came into effect on Aug 27, other Canadian provinces have found success.
In the first five days of legalized single-event betting in Canada, Ontario’s gamblers wagered more than CA$1 million. And approximately 74% involved single bets.
Likewise, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MLL) opened singles on PlayNow.com on day one of singles betting in Canada.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) registered 1,208 new users on PlayNow during the same week. Following Bill C-218’s passing, the platform saw a 96% rise in the number of placed bets. Compared to the week before legalization, PlayNow saw a 72% increase in the amount spent on bets.
The Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC), Loto Québec, and Atlantic Lotto also launched single-event bets on their respective platforms. However, one Atlantic province, Nova Scotia, has yet to allow single picks.