A platform for online casino gaming and single-event sports betting could be in place for Saskatchewan by the time Regina hosts the Gray Cup in November.
The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) said it signed a vendor agreement with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) on June 2 to begin development.
SIGA President and CEO Zane Hansen expects it to be ready for launch by October.
“This is a big step forward. No other First Nations organization in Canada has had the opportunity to engage,” Hansen told CBC News on Monday.
“We’re really going to make the most of it and generate a lot of returns…and the benefits flow back to our beneficiaries, our First Nations and the provincial government.”
SIGA’s online gaming platform will only be open to residents of Saskatchewan who are 19 years of age or older.
Hansen explained that the online portal will have measures to verify the player’s age and geographic location to ensure the process is legal.
Built-in player health technology
SIGA said BCLC was selected to develop the site and mobile app after an extensive RFP process.
The organization’s Play Now platform will be customized for the Saskatchewan market. BCLC already provides the service to the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation.
Hansen said one aspect of the BCLC product that really appealed to SIGA was its focus on player health, including features to limit game time and money spent.
The platform is also the only one in North America to currently include “gaming sense advisors” – real people trained to offer gaming resources via chat.
“They’re here to discuss anything the players would like to talk about to get more information,” Hansen said.
According to the BCLC website, counselors are trained to educate people about the risks associated with gambling.
Advisors are also equipped to inform and assist players in the event of voluntary self-exclusion, which would temporarily terminate the online gambling account.
Hansen predicts that online sports betting on a single event will represent a significant percentage of activity on the platform.
He said that while sports teams don’t directly benefit from betting revenue, the added exposure is exciting for leagues and their advertisers.
“It creates a much more active and engaged playerbase…because people will watch more often and, just as important, they’ll watch longer,” Hansen said.
“All sports betting companies have to pay leagues for data, which is then distributed to teams.”
SIGA will be the official operator of the new online gaming portal, under an operating agreement with SaskGaming.
“Online gaming will modernize the gaming industry in the province and complement the casino entertainment options available at SaskGaming and SIGA land-based casinos,” Susan Flett, interim president and CEO, said in a statement. press on Monday.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations reached an agreement with the provincial government in September 2021 that allowed SIGA to bring online gambling to the province.