SASKATOON — Saskatchewan residents who have been waiting patiently for online gaming and online sports betting in the province got good news Monday.
SIGA (Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority), along with other stakeholders, have announced that a vendor agreement has been signed with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC).
BCLC officially signed the agreement Thursday last week, which means BCLC will begin development on the online gaming site for Saskatchewan. They were chosen following an extensive RFP process seeking bidders to provide a turn-key online gaming portal option for Saskatchewan.
BCLC currently offers the PlayNow.com platform to its B.C. residents. Their website features online casino games as well as a sports book offering single event sports betting.
It is the only regulated online gaming site in British Columbia. BCLC also provides the PlayNow.com platform to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.
The plan, according to a news release from SIGA, is for this platform to be customized for the Saskatchewan market to reflect many of the popular casino games local residents are accustomed to seeing at casinos, as well as to offer single-event sports betting.
SIGA, which operates seven land-based casinos throughout Saskatchewan, is the official operator of the new online gaming portal as per an operating agreement with SaskGaming. FSIN and the provincial government had entered an agreement in September 2021, which enabled SIGA to bring online gaming to Saskatchewan.
Now with the news that BCLC is on board as vendor, the portal is expected to launch for Saskatchewan residents later this year.
“We are excited to be moving forward with the next stage of this project,” said SaskGaming President and CEO Susan Flett in a news release. “Online gaming will modernize the gaming industry in the province and will complement the casino entertainment options available at land-based SaskGaming and SIGA casinos.”
“SIGA, is very excited to bring the PlayNow online casino and sports betting experience to Saskatchewan - the PlayNow platform is very competitive against any other online offering. This online offering will integrate into our existing casino operations and will further enhance the entertainment options for SIGA’s and SaskGaming’s customers,” said SIGA President and CEO Zane Hansen in a news release.
“BCLC is proud to provide its industry-leading PlayNow.com platform to Saskatchewan players, who can soon enjoy the very best in online-gambling entertainment – from exclusive slot games to a full suite of sports betting and casino products,” said Lynda Cavanaugh, interim president and CEO, BCLC, in a news release. “Offering a safe and secure online gambling experience that supports positive play, PlayNow.com is the only gambling website in North America and one of few in the world that offers dedicated player-health specialists – known as GameSense Advisors – via live chat.”
Single game sports betting in Canada was legalized by parliament last year following the passage of a private members bill C-218 from Saskatoon Grasswood M.P. Kevin Waugh. Since then, online gaming and online single game sports betting companies have been applying for licenses and setting up operations in Canada.
In Ontario, online operators launched on April 4, prompting a flurry of online sports-betting advertising currently seen on sports TV channels in Canada.