SaskGaming loses more than $5M in two weeks following casino closures
REGINA -- SaskGaming estimates it lost more than $5 million in 15-days after temporarily closing Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw.
According to SaskGaming’s annual report released Wednesday, it estimates it lost between $5.2 million and $5.8 million in revenue over the 15-day span.
The losses could grow because the report only covers up to the end of March. The casinos were closed for the months of April, May and June, and will re-open on Thursday.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the casinos to close.
SaskGaming said in the report that the situation continues to evolve. It doesn’t yet know how long it will experience financial difficulties.
It said it hasn’t included the 2020-21 budget projections because of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
In the report, which covers 2019-20, SaskGaming reported revenues of $114.1 million, a 3.8 per cent loss when compared to the $118.6 million in revenue in 2018-19.
Expenses for 2019-20 were slightly up. SaskGaming reported $73.9 million in expenses for the past fiscal year. In 2018-19, expenses were $73.7 million.
This left SaskGaming with $40.2 million in income in 2019-20. Of that figure, $20.1 million was provided to the First Nations Trust and Community Initiatives Fund. The organizations take an equal share of the amount.
As well, $13.3 million was sent to the Crown Investments Corporation and the remaining $6.8 million was retained.
Patrons of casinos in Regina and Moose Jaw lined up outside the doors before they opened at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Some line ups continued throughout the day.
"To see the interest and the excitement and to feel that energy back in the building again it was second to none,” Director of Communications for SaskGaming, Shanna Schulhauser, said. “We're so excited to be open again and we're so excited our guests and our employees are excited as well."
Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw laid off nearly 600 employees after they were forced to close their doors at the end of March. The reopening on Thursday brought some of those employees back to work.
“As of today, we had between 150 to 200 recalled from temporary lay off and then as we add services of the next couple of months, then our other employees will be recalled back,” Schulhauser said. “At some point in the near future [we will] have everyone back to their home positions, likely by some point next year.”