With Quebec already well into full operations with its ESPACEJEUX site and British Columbia players grinding the felts of PLAYNOW, it seems to be more a matter of when, then if, other provinces will follow suit. Ontario is already well under way to launching its own provincial gambling site and could be live and taking rake as early as next year.
It seems that watching his own nightly news sparked renewed interest in the topic for the Government of Saskatchewan, as Ken Cheveldayoff watched commercials aimed at their regions audience for online gambling. The Minister responsible for the Provinces two publicly owned casinos has been quoted in all reports as saying “I think that it’s growing. It’s there and it’s something we’re going to have to look at very closely.”
Half of gambling revenues generated for Saskatchewan are pumped into “do good” community projects, but fell almost 20% percent short of initial estimates for last year. At nearly $8,000,000 shy of the target, it was enough to get the wheels turning it seems. “What troubles me is that the profits are leaving the province and can’t be reinvested in the good activities that Gaming Corporation, for example, does,” said Cheveldayoff.
Like every other justification given for gambling revenues, there will surely be mixed opinions and opposition on encouraging change to get these numbers up and is always a delicate topic that requires the right arguments to gain a comfortable level of general public favor. The Edgewater Casino relocation and expansion in Vancouver doesn’t fall far from the tree, but regardless, people are gambling, will continue to do so and potential tax and revenue is going elsewhere.
While the numbers lean towards changing with the times and getting on board, the counter argument already expected points out that the Casino had lost a bunch of visitors with reduced operations due to a drawn out labor dispute, in its own way, another pitfall that will add to opposing arguments. Clearly there will be obstacles in making this happen but it now appears that the idea has left “just curious” and is working its way to “sign me up”.