The pandemic rages on, causing more and more casino closures worldwide. It is happening in Saskatchewan and taking its toll on indigenous organizations who are losing revenues. The virus is weighing heavily on these entities.
For example, the Clarence Campeau Development Fund (CCDF) receives 100 percent of its funding from casino revenue in Regina and Moose Jaw. Now what will happen when the gaming facilities close? According to Steve Danners, the Chief Operator Officer, it will be a detriment to their functioning.
“We like to joke that we take that money right of the VLTs
and shoot it back into the provincial economy.”
To help solve the problem, the Saskatchewan government has announced that more than $43 million in grants will support Indigenous organizations not able to receive their usual gaming revenue.
The First Nations Trust has been allotted $36.6 million while CCDF gets $1.6 million to continue operations for the duration of the fiscal year. Per Danner, for every dollar CCDF lends to entrepreneurs, $15.31 comes back to the province in socioeconomic benefits. Not everyone is so lucky and many are left out. Many indigenous organizations rely on gaming revenue.
“This business model is not sustainable. We need all sectors of the province to recover.”
Danner described the government as “a true partner.” But it hasn’t announced further funding yet. Jay Teneycke, a spokesperson for the government relations ministry said that officials are “monitoring closely to determine if financial assistance is required,”
The Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation oversees Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw but hasn’t given any revenue projections during the shutdown, set for one month. We do know that gaming revenue has been precarious during the pandemic. However, Shanna Schulhauser, Director of Communications said,
“The revenue loss from the most recent capacity
restrictions … is approximately $2.3 million.”
In terms of profits, compare the take to December 2019 and January 2020 when the casinos made roughly $9.3 million.
The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority has seven casinos that are now ordered to close.