SaskGaming has, for the first time since it began operations 25years ago, reported financial losses. In a financial report for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the gaming company said total losses of $13.4 million were due to the effects of the COVID pandemic. The company’s two casinos, Regina and Moose Jaw, have remained closed for the last seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 570 permanent employees lost jobs due to the unprecedented circumstances brought about by the pandemic.
SaskGaming minister, Don Morgan in a press release, said, “Not unlike other industries in our province, SaskGaming was significantly impacted by the pandemic…while the corporation managed to turn a modest revenue of $30.9 million when the casino was operating with fewer capacity restrictions, it was not enough to offset expenses and resulted in no payments made to the General Revenue Fund.”
The president and CEO of SaskGaming, Susan Flett, said that the loss was something new in the company’s 25 years of experience. She announced that even after reopening the Regina and Moose Jaw casinos, only 318 employees reported working at casino Regina and 69 to casino Moore Jaw. In addition, the covid-19 restrictions demand downsizing; thus, the casinos had to operate with reduced guest capacity, limited-service offering, and reduced hours of operations.
Holding Company Comes to the Rescue
2020-21 fiscal year was not welcoming for SaskGaming, but the company had improved tremendously in the second quarter after the resumption of the two casinos. The situation worsened towards the end of the fiscal year in April due to an unforeseen second lockdown, which shut the casinos. SaskGaming revenues had hit a promising $114.1 million, but 2020/21 they faded away to $30.9 million.
SaskGaming contributes 50% of net revenue to the province’s general revenue fund and 80% of the remaining 50% to the holding Company, Crown Investments Corporation. This year holds a different tale since the company is not in a position to honor the payments. The holding company instead choose to give SaskGaming CA $4 million to enhance continued operations.
Susan Flett, the company CEO, and president, noted that
“This reporting year was unlike anything SaskGaming has experienced in 25 years of operation.”
She added that
“The corporation made many difficult but necessary business decisions as a result of COVID-19, including continuing with renovations at Casino Regina in an effort to support the local construction industry and subtrades.”
Uncertain Economic Times
According to SaskGaming 2020-21 Annual Report, the company made $30.9 million in revenue compared to $114.1 the previous year, expenses of $44.3 million and $73.9 million in the previous year. This led to a $13.4 million net loss in 2020-21 compared to the net income of $40.2 million for 2019-20. The gaming company made the relevant payments to the general revenue fund and paid the required dividends to Crowns Investment Corporation accordingly.
SaskGaming declined to forecast 2021-22 revenues owing to the uncertain economic times brought by the pandemic, calling it a “continually evolving” economy. However, the company is hopeful that all its properties will resume operations soon once the province relaxes most of the COVID-19 protocols. Nevertheless, the company was proud to announce that they have adhered fully to the health and safety procedures regarding the COVID-19. Only two potential cases of exposure were recorded at the gaming centre.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority brims with hope as the provincial government gives the go-ahead to restart casino services in June. The gaming authority announces a relaunch of seven of its properties in the province; Bear Claw Casino and Hotel, Gold Eagle Casino, Gold Horse Casino, Painted Hand Casino, Dakota Dunes Casino, Living Sky Casino, and Northern Lights Casino.
Last Updated on by Ryan