Legally regulated sports betting is now in effect in Saskatchewan.
The province on Thursday launched PlayNow, Saskatchewan’s first legal online gambling platform since the federal government legalized single-game sports betting in August 2021.
“I think it’s also important to point out that this was all made possible through a historic agreement we entered into with SIGA (Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority) just over a year ago. So it’s also a great day for economic reconciliation in Saskatchewan too,” said Shanna Schulhauser, Director of Communications for the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation.
On June 11, the province and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) signed a 25-year Gaming Framework Agreement to continue gaming operations through the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA).
The PlayNow site is a British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) platform operated by Sask. Gaming, operated by SIGA and regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.
Saskatchewan. Gaming said the site offers over 500 casino games and a full suite of sports betting options. According to the site, profits — split equally between the province and the FSIN — support economic development, health, education and community services in Saskatchewan.
“This historic partnership is the first of its kind, with a First Nations online gaming operator with revenue sharing between First Nations and the province,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “This will provide many economic benefits to residents of the province and to our First Nations communities.”
Schulhauser said the province expects to generate $60 million in revenue within four years.
“There’s a lot of market share available there. And now, with this new online gaming platform up and running, we’re hoping to capture some of that,” she said.
Ever since single match sports betting was legalized in Canada, there has been an abundance of messaging and advertising around the industry.
Schulhauser understands concerns about gambling addictions and said PlayNow was chosen for its responsible gambling features.
Contextual reminders of time and money spent, problem gambling referral information, and counselors available around the clock are just some of the ways the platform plans to tackle addictions on its site. .
“They will be available 24/7 for live chat on the platform and that just supports a, you know, safer online gaming environment,” Schulhauser said.
The site is now operational in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Other provinces launched their sites months ago, but Schulhauser says it gave Saskatchewan a boost. Lots of games to review before diving into the sports betting industry.
“We have a proven product. And so from that perspective, you know, that’s definitely been a plus for us,” she said.
More than anything, Schulhauser is happy to celebrate that more money is staying in the province, with punters now having one more avenue to direct their bets.
“The gray market and illegal sites are not new to the Saskatchewan market. There are currently thousands of illegal online gambling and sports betting platforms operating across Canada. We hope to capture some of that market share,” she said.