Saskatchewan Indian Casinos Report Profit

The final numbers are in for the 2018-2019 fiscal year for the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA), and profits were up for the fiscal year. Even so, SaskGaming, which owns two casinos, showed revenue down and speaks to a larger gaming downward trend that started four years ago.

What is SIGA?

SIGA was created in 1995 out of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations as a part of the first Nations Gaming Act. The agency was then incorporated at the beginning of 1996 as a nonprofit charitable organisation.

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) regulates SIGA. The organisation approves budgets and policies and oversees its general services and management.

The general purpose of SIGA is to “strengthen the lives of First Nations people through employment, economic growth, and positive community relations. All of the profits from SIGA are directed back into the community.

SIGA operates a number of land-based casinos:

  • Bear Claw Casino near Carlyle
  • Dakota Dunes Casino near Saskatoon
  • Gold Horse Casino in Lloydminster
  • Gold Eagle Casino in North Battleford
  • Living Sky Casino in Swift Current
  • Northern Lights Casino in Prince Albert
  • Painted Hand Casino in Yorkton

In addition, SaskGaming, which shares its profits with SIGA but is overseen by the SLGA, has two casinos in the area: Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw.

2018-2019 SIGA Reporting

The seven casinos operated by SIGA reported cumulative profits of $82.5 million during the 2018-2019 fiscal year that ended March 31, 2019. This was a result of $262 million in total revenue SIGA CEO and President Zane Hansen said:

“It is through strong ties with loyal patrons and the hard work of our employees that we have achieved the success we have today and we’re able to share that success with Saskatchewan communities.”

Of the profits, half will go into the First Nations Trust for distribution to the associated bands. Meanwhile, 25% will go to the Saskatchewan General Revenue Fund. The regional Community Development Corporation for local initiatives will then receive the last 25%.

Looking to the next fiscal year, Hansen noted that it is only one year out from celebrating its 25th year in business:

“From about 500 employees and four casinos to close to 2,000 employees and seven casinos – with a 64% First Nation workforce. We’ve been able to build this success by maintaining a resolute focus on our ‘why,’ our purpose – to create opportunity and to help strengthen the lives of First Nation people.”

2018-2019 SaskGaming Financials

As for SaskGaming, it reported $44.9 million in profits. However, it showed $22.5 million in net earnings, which were down from $23.2 million in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The company attributed the decrease to lower revenue that is consistent with the “ongoing maturation of the Saskatchewan gaming market.”

On a higher note, SaskGaming reported lower operating expenses due to spending restraints. It has continuously lowered its debt ratio. However, capital expenditures for the 2018-2019 year were up $3.4 million because of slot machine renewals, facility renovations, and equipment purchases.

The two casinos did report solid numbers of more than three million combined guests for the year. This includes 2.6 million at Casino Regina and 600K at Casino Moose Jaw.

A continued earnings drop is anticipated, however, for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The financial outlook reported forecasted earnings of only $21.8 million. Though there will be a “modest” increase in revenue, there will also be increasing depreciation costs and costs pertaining to modernisation and investments in new gaming technology and products.

Principles, Not Profits

Every business must make money and try to generate a profit, as that is the nature of business. However, SIGA operates on five core principles in its employment and support of First Nations people.

The Cree word for the first principle is Tapwewin, which means to speak with precision and accuracy. That translates into operating a business with integrity, honour, and discipline.

The second is Pimacihowin, or making a living. The success of SIGA gives people the means to sustain and improve the quality of life for First Nations people.

Miyo-wicehtowin is a word that pertains to getting along with others. That subsequently translates into positive relationships with customers.

Fourth is Miskasowin, which is the value of a person’s sense of origin and belonging. This equates to a pride in the First Nations and its heritage.

Finally, Witaskewin means sharing success, which includes land and resources. It shows the importance of giving back to the communities in which SIGA works and lives.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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