According to a spokesman for Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, Andrea Kowal, “It’s a very, very competitive market and whether we entered it late or not, the fact is there are choices customers are always going to make in any sort of commerce, including e-commerce.”
“There are a lot of other sites out there that Manitobans can play on.”
The Manitoba government predicted $1.5 million in the first year and grow to $17 million annually by 2018, but instead, in the six-month period that ended September 30, revenues from online gambling were $1.8 million while expenses totalled $1.5 million, netting the province only $300,000. Part of the problem was that some games that were supposed to be offered upon launch took longer than expected.
Manitoba launched under the PlayNow.com banner a year ago, a website that is managed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Though the brand name is the same, each province earns revenues according to the customer’s province of residence.
British Columbia entered the online gambling space in 2010, and now earns some $30 million annually from Playnow.com. Ontario is expected to join the online game soon.
The Manitoba government claimed that residents were already spending $37 million a year on other gaming websites, so it made sense to try to get a piece of that via a regulated site.
There are some 9,000 registered users from Manitoba as of the date of the report, a growth of 5,000 users over the previous six months.
The province is still very optimistic about the product and that it is something that will grow steadily.