SaskGaming is back on track.
After a $13.4 million loss in 2020-21, the Crown corporation reported a $19.1 million net profit in 2021-22.
Much of that success is due to provincially operated Saskatchewan casinos reopening in 2022. COVID-19 restrictions began lifting in the year’s second quarter.
That decision, said the minister responsible for SaskGaming, Don Morgan, was critical.
“SaskGaming saw steady improvement in 2021-22, as we emerged from the era of pandemic-related restrictions.”
Saskatchewan gambling revenue hits $77.8 million
Beyond profitability, SaskGaming’s total revenue also more than doubled. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:
Renewed profitability is one thing, but Morgan said the people of Saskatchewan are also in line to benefit from the uptick.
Ultimately that is most important for any Crown-operated casino.
“With nearly a full year of operations under its belt, SaskGaming was able to contribute $9.6 million to the province’s General Revenue Fund to support First Nations Trust, Community Initiatives and Clarence Campeau Development Fund.”
However, not everyone came out with a win. Due to the temporary closures, SaskGaming made no dividend payments to its shareholders, the Crown Investment Corporation.
SaskGaming rebounds from first loss in 25 years
But 2020-21 was a year unlike no other. It was the first time the corporation had failed to turn a profit in 25 years.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, though.
After all, Saskatchewan’s casinos were closed for over half the fiscal year. The operator even laid off 570 employees to cut losses.
Saskatchewan casinos begin revamp during pandemic closures
On the bright side, the closures may have acted as a blessing in disguise.
Due to COVID restrictions, Casino Regina completely revamped its gaming experience. The restaurant, east-end and central hall were all renovated.
Priorities also included technology upgrades and online gaming. Moose Jaw renovations are next up, said a SaskGaming spokesperson.
Cyber attack shakes SLGA, Saskatchewan
Nowadays, SaskGaming is dealing with a new type of drama.
The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority – its regulator – is under fire following the release of chilling details involving a Christmas day cyberattack in 2021.
It’s believed cybercriminals accessed SLGA computer systems and applications, exposing highly sensitive info.
Items accessed include:
- Banking info
- Social security numbers
- Place and date of birth
- Driver’s license
- Employment history
- Criminal record history
- Financial disclosures (licensing/permit process for commercial liquor permits)
- Cannabis permits
- Gaming/horse racing registrants
Regulatory clients who provided sensitive information within the past five years are hearing details privately. The investigation is ongoing.
Regardless, it’s not much of a happy holiday tale. Perhaps it’s best to focus on 2021’s good news story and the return to profitability instead.