“The Bread Basket of Canada” has a plan for online gaming, as the province of Saskatchewan announced an agreement with Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. The deal will allow SIGA to shepherd the vast western Canadian province into online gaming in the near future.
SIGA is an alliance of 74 First Nations (FSIN) groups in Saskatchewan created in the early 1990s. It currently operates seven casinos with more than 5,000 employees in the province, which straddles Montana and North Dakota, stretching far north into Canada.
According to a release announcing the partnership, FSIN will launch a website to offer sports betting and online casino games for Saskatchewan residents. FSIN and Saskatchewan will split revenues evenly.
Online sports betting and casinos are legal in Canada, but provinces are mandated to structure the legal process, licensing, and governance. Saskatchewan expects to launch sports betting and online casino websites and apps at some point in 2022.
Vast Saskatchewan Region Is Often Overlooked
With a vast area of more than 250,000 square miles (roughly the size of Texas), Saskatchewan is sparsely populated. The last census indicated that about 1.2 million people live in the wilderness province. There were concerns that due to the low population base, online gaming and sports betting would lag behind other regions of Canada. But the deal with FSIN bolsters Saskatchewan’s ability to launch online gaming and reap tax revenue benefits.
The province of Alberta announced the creation of its own gaming corporation earlier this year, and other Canadian cities and provinces have already offered single-game sports betting. With FSIN on their side, Saskatchewan will need to determine whether they want to offer licenses to established sportsbooks and casinos or strike on their own.
This development leaves Nova Scotia as the only Canadian province that has not announced either a state-sponsored company to manage and offer online gaming or entered into an agreement with a third party.