REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) is temporarily increasing VLT commissions that are paid to bars and restaurants across the province.

The changes, which come into effect today, mean commissions will temporarily increase from 15 per cent to 25 per cent.

Gene Makowsky, the minister responsible for the SLGA, said in a news release the temporary measure will provide additional revenues to help hotel bars and restaurants maintain operations.

Saskatchewan VLTs were shutdown on March 20 to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. People will be allowed to use VLTs today.

The temporary commission adjustment will be in effect until January 3.

The commission is paid to site contractors for providing space for the VLTs and for electrical service, paying out prizes, emptying cashboxes and cleaning the machines.

The government, in collaboration with the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, has introduced new cleaning protocols for VLTs, and will ensure physical distancing guidelines are followed.

There are approximately 4,200 VLTs in the province operating in 288 communities.  Provincial net income from VLTs was $155.3 million during 2019-20.  Site contractor revenues were $32.5 million, the government said.