Saskatchewan Indian Nations based in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada are looking to become the sole operators of all casinos within the province by asking for monopoly status. Canadian gambling laws leave the decision whether to allow online casinos to each province. The province of Saskatchewan does not permit online gambling but allows traditional casinos.
Currently there are six casinos in the province operated by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, and another two operated by the province’s SaskGaming Inc. Indian leaders think that all provincial casinos should be under a single operator and they see themselves as that operator.
The Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Guy Lonechild, made the following comments : “We think it’s time because of market saturation that First Nations look at being the sole operator of all provincial casinos. It’s a model of success because of employment opportunities and wealth and sharing the wealth.”
Lonechild also admitted that it’s high time to dive into operating online casinos in Canada. He estimates the province is losing $30 million in online gambling currently going to sites operated outside Saskatchewan. He sees the expansion into internet gambling as an inevitable means to keep the money within the province. “This is something we need to get into the game,” Lonechild said.
The Federation of Indian Nations is expected to send a letter to Ken Cheveldayoff, minister responsible for SaskGaming and Brad Wall, the province’s Premier. The proposal to take over the casinos is also to be put forward during a scheduled meeting between the chiefs and the provincial government.
Online gambling news in Canada also learned that Cheveldayoff has already stated that the casinos operated by the province are not for sale and had the following to say: “We just feel that the way they’re operating now and the ownership structure is beneficial for the province.”
He went on to say: “There are operating agreements that could be entered into, but I think for right now, from what I see from my chair, they’re operating fine the way they are. If there are other proposals that come forward we’ll look at them, but right now it’s steady as she goes.”