Saskatchewan Tribes Strike Landmark Deal to Debut Online Gaming in Canadian Province
Posted on: September 24, 2021, 03:48h.
Last updated on: September 24, 2021, 05:24h.
Saskatchewan is the only one of Canada’s ten provinces not to have rolled out some form of regulated online gaming. But that’s about to change, thanks to a landmark new deal between the province and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN). The federation represents Saskatchewan’s 74 First Nations.
The deal will see an online casino and sports betting platform go live next year. It’ll be a joint venture between FSIN’s non-profit Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) and the province-owned Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SGC).
SIGA will operate the site, while SGC will oversee its conduct and management. Revenues will be split 50/50 between the two parties. As FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron noted in a press statement, it’s the first agreement of its kind, not just in Saskatchewan, but the whole of Canada.
He might have added the world. To Casino.org’s knowledge, this type of joint gaming operation between a state government and tribal entity exists nowhere else.
Revenue Distributed Among Tribes
“A lot of work went into this, we have ventured on for the last many days, weeks, months and years to get to this point,” explained Cameron. He said the deal represented “reconciliation at its finest.”
The SGA’s portion of profits from the venture will be distributed among First Nation communities. This will benefit economic and social development, justice, recreation, and health programs. The province will direct its share into priority projects like education, infrastructure, and health.
Cameron said the agreement was timely because land-based casinos in Saskatchewan had endured periods of closure because of the pandemic.
SGA operates seven land-based casinos in Saskatchewan, while SGA operates two.
At a news conference at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina Thursday, the two parties signed an amendment to their Gaming Framework Agreement to establish a regulatory framework for the site. They also signed a letter of intent, which they said would help define the path forward.
After the site launches, FSIN will have five years of exclusivity on licensed online gaming within the province. After that, the provincial government could decide to launch its own online gaming operations.
While the platform will be focused on the Saskatchewan market, Cameron said there was no law to prevent the site from going global.
“That’s our goal here. We want to take this worldwide,” he said, as reported by The Star Phoenix. He added the goal was “not millions, but billions.”
Reg Bellerose, SIGA chair and Chief of Muskowekwan First Nation had a more circumspect projection. He said “in the $20 million, $25 million range” would be a good return.
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