Manitoba Internet Gambling: Making all the right moves since January 2013.
Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries is one of four provincial gaming regulators throughout Canada who’s elected to host a home-grown internet gambling regime. In the last few years of operation, the MLL has seen exponential growth in revenue. This month, they’re praising the iGaming sector for the consistent incline.
For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the Manitoba regulator absorbed nearly $3 million more than the previous period. Based in Winnipeg, the Crown Corporation’s total revenue rose to $586 million across all parallels.
In its annual earnings report, issued this month, the Chair of the MLL’s Board of Directors, Polly Craik, commended the regulatory body for maintaining a strong focus in the right direction.
“This year’s annual report makes clear that Liquor & Lotteries is on the right track,” said Craik.
“Strong revenues and fiscal discipline — such as the decision to cancel plans for a $75-million head office — has helped put the corporation on a positive financial trajectory, while a new, leaner, executive team is helping deliver improvements across our operating areas,” he said.
Positive Outlook for Manitoba Internet Gambling
In January of 2013, Manitoba took a different path than its neighbors when forging its way into online betting. Canada provinces of British Columbia, Quebec and (later) Ontario chose to host their own regulated iGaming websites. Manitoba, on the other hand, shook hands with leaders in B.C. to piggy-back off their existing success.
Since January of 2013, Manitoba has operated under a shared liquidity deal with British Columbia. It allows residents of the central province to use the same internet betting site of B.C. locals, PlayNow.com. Sharing player pools helps to increase interest, particularly in the online poker pool. And Manitoba gets to keep the majority of what its players generate in revenue for the site.
But there are some other notable differences between Manitoba and their Canadian iGaming brethren. They’re indubitably thankful for their share, aren’t complaining about outside competition, and have made a point to spend their earnings wisely.
Online Betting Canada: No Complaints from Manitoba
While other provinces protest the prevalent use of international online betting sites, officials in Manitoba aren’t complaining. They are perfectly happy to see exponential growth in the revenue generated by the Manitoba internet gambling campaign.
They’re also putting that money to good use. Prior to the Progressive Conservatives appointing a new board of directors for the MLL, there was an expensive plan in place to build a new head office for the Crown Corporation. As Craik pointed out in the earnings report, it would have cost $75 million.
The new board immediately ordered a review of the relocation plan, scrapping it in September of 2016. Deemed an unnecessary expense, it was determined that money would be much better spent on its true purpose, the public needs of Manitoba.
Contributions to Rise in MLL Revenue
The annual report does not separate land-based casino revenue from online betting revenue. However, MLL credited the Manitoba internet gambling scheme as a contributor to the increase in revenue.
“Casino comprehensive income of $65.5 million in 2016/17 increased from last year’s comprehensive income of $63.7 million by $1.8 million or 2.8%. Increased play on the PlayNow.com online gaming site and increased electronic gaming play at the casino properties both contributed to this growth.”
In particular, the regulator extolled the addition of a new networked progressive slot jackpot. The PowerBucks Jackpot “offers players a chance at a bonus prize starting at $1 million”. It’s currently available at the provinces two land-based casinos, as well as PlayNow.com.
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