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Saskatchewan inks online gambling deal with FSIN

Bobby Cameron

Regulated online gaming and sports betting is finally coming to Saskatchewan, thanks to a recent deal between the provincial government and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN).

The Saskatchewan government has announced an agreement with the FSIN that will see the two entities partner to launch an online gambling platform in the province. The deal, which is outlined in an amended Gaming Framework Agreement, allows the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) to operate the site, while the government-owned Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SaskGaming) oversees the management of the platform.

The contract further establishes a revenue sharing framework for profits from the joint-venture, which will include both iGaming and single-event wagering. Under the terms of the agreement, the provincial government and tribal gaming operator will split the winnings on a 50/50 basis.

Besides the agreement between the Saskatchewan provincial government and the FSIN, SaskGaming and SIGA have also signed a Letter of Intent (LOI), which lays out the terms of their partnership.

The platform will launch in 2022.

FSIN Chief applauds groundbreaking deal

In an official statement during the contract signing ceremony last Thursday, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron applauded both parties for reaching a consensus, adding that the deal is the first of its kind not only in the province but also in Canada. Cameron went on to say that the additional revenue generated by the new venture would bring immense benefits to the 74 First Nations of Saskatchewan.

“A lot of work went into this, we have ventured on for the last many days, weeks, months and years to get to this point,” stated the FSIN Chief.

“This obviously is going to be a positive benefit to our 74 First Nations communities. Saskatchewan Gaming Authority is leading the way for gaming on First Nation country. This is reconciliation at its finest.”

SIGA excited about revenue-generating opportunities

Commenting on the deal, SIGA said that the agreement couldn’t come at a better time, seeing that the various land-based casinos operated by the organization have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization added that the profits from the new revenue would enhance its ability to contribute positively towards the needs of the First Nations communities.

“This is an important day for SIGA, as we continue to evolve with a changing gaming industry, and in our delivery of entertainment options for our customers,” said the SIGA Chair, Chief Reginald Bellerose.

“The additional revenue opportunities from online gaming and sports betting, will only increase SIGA’s ability to positively impact employment, economic growth, positive community relations and financial self-reliance of First Nations in the province.

“I’m proud of the benefits that go back to the First Nations. There is great demand for that revenue.”

SIGA has said that its share of the revenue will go to the First Nations communities fund, and that it will be used to benefit various projects including justice, health, recreation, and economic and social development.

The organization runs seven casinos across the province, including Northern Lights Casino in Prince Albert, Gold Eagle Casino in North Battleford, and Dakota Dunes Casino.

SaskGaming promises ‘safe’ online gambling platform

SaskGaming also issued a statement to welcome the partnership, saying that the new site would provide players in the province with an opportunity to enjoy online casino gaming in a safe, regulated, and secure environment that also promotes responsible gambling behavior.

“This new online gaming site will be a safe, regulated, and secure platform that will fall under existing responsible gambling practices. This site will have measures and resources in place to support players and protect privacy, while also contributing to the social and economic wellbeing of Saskatchewan,” stated the minister responsible for SaskGaming, Don Morgan.

The Saskatchewan government has pledged to use its revenue share to fund priority projects like education, health, and infrastructure development.

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