What is the current status of Saskatchewan gambling?

The Saskatchewan gambling is offering many fantastic gaming opportunities in diverse ways. There is a vast number of games that feature many bonuses. Most recently, there is an ongoing craze about the online gambling.

Who operates and regulates the gambling activities?

Several bodies govern the gambling activities in the province; Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority SLGA and the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation are generally in charge of overseeing all the activities that take place. The SLGA manages the non-casinos; Horse racing is operated by a non-profit organization, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency and governed by the SLGA; The ticket lotteries are regulated by the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture, and Sport. The Indigenous gaming regulators are charged with the licensing of the charitable gaming.

How many avenues/ gambling games in the province? (as of January 2016)

• Casinos – 12
• Slot machines in native SIGA casinos- 1900
• Slot machine in SaskGaming casinos-995
• Number of VLTs-3936
• The number of communities with VLTs- 302
• Number of VLT sites-629
• Charitable gaming- 3606
• Bingo halls-18
• Internet gambling- the exact number has not been determined yet due to the rapid increase.

The most common form of gambling is the scratch card tickets for the younger population. They are best at playing this games of skill. In contrast, the majority of adults prefer the raffle and the fundraising tickets. However, recently, the online gambling is becoming one of the most favorite. Well, it is common knowledge that the laws that govern the internet gambling are a bit sketchy at the very least. Online companies are prohibited from operating the poker rooms and casinos from within Canada. However, the sites servers that are located outside the province like at Montreal can perfectly to operate within the state. Such a confusion!

A majority of these sites had been prohibited before 2009, not that there are specific laws that stipulate that betting to offshore sites is legal. The citizens always took advantage of the lack of specificity to involve themselves in online betting. As a matter of fact, doing it is not punishable under the Canadian Criminal Code. According to surveys conducted by the Ipos Reid, more than 60% of the general Canadian population think that it should be legalized and governed by the Canadian government. However, there are some issues which have been raised and to date remain unsettled.

What will happen to the taxation?

According to the Canada Revenue Agency, the revenue earned from the online gambling is not taxable; therefore, its reporting is considered irrelevant. However, the revenue that is raised through other affiliate businesses related to the casinos is taxable. See where am heading? The definition of the instrumentation and the implementation of these laws is rather confusing. These confusions will have to change as the professional online poker players from other international states are usually taxed while in Canada’s, Saskatchewan province, which should not be the case. In addition to that, there is a need for clear guidelines that should ward off the underage children with dodgy reputation from circumventing the system.

Is there a need for a cohesive framework?

The Canadian government should work to harmonize the online gambling rules across all the provinces. The regulations are still a mishmash across the country. That is a key factor which should be put into a larger picture. The rules that govern the horse racing, lottery, and the casinos. That has created a vast misunderstanding as the people who feel confused should they move from province to another. The bodies that govern the online gambling should also harmonize themselves as it is close to impossible to allow or block parts of a website in one area and blocked in another.

The current gambling revenues

As of 2015-2016 the gross VLT revenue that was obtained from all the gambling venues was $292.3 million. The charitable gaming presented a total of $29.8 million and racing handle raised over $9.1 million. That is the best that has ever been raised over the years. It has given hope to the future of the industry. The previous year’s funds have been used for the Saskatchewan sports and recreation activities. Other funds will be channeled towards the religious charitable organizations on their purpose.

Who is involved in reducing the potential harm that gambling can cause?

Despite the numerous challenges such as addiction, overspending, and the associated depression the province has come up with many steps to curb these potential problems.
The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority has been on the forefront of this course by funding the ongoing awareness campaigns on gambling responsibly. In addition to that, they are also in charge of administering the VLT gaming software which provides a time based online feed of the expenditure and profit through a pop-up reminder that interrupts the programs every 30 minutes. Most recently, they have created an online helpline, which is a toll-free 24-hour call line.

The iCare recognition program funded by the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation has developed a facial recognition software that can detect at-risk patron. They also provide staff awareness training in conjunction with the Canadian Mental Health Association. The corporation also comes up with policies that are initiated to reduce the harm that gambling can cause to the citizens. Most notably, is their famous “play responsibly” tagline that is featured in all their brochures and the promotional advertisement. These steps have been effectively implemented, and their effectiveness is magnificent. Most nations of the world are adopting similar programs.

Competition to drive innovation; the future of gambling.
Presently the number of casinos in Saskatchewan province is in dire need of encouragement. Their count is still small when compared to the other nations. More casinos should be opened and allowed to operate like in most parts of the EU. That will cumulatively increase the number of bonus rates and the customer services. And everyone will have a pleasant gambling experience.

Written by: Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson has been reporting for Blog.ca for more than 8 years. He studied journalism at UGC and has published two books on how journalism influences the world.

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