The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) has been selected as the operator of the province's regulated online gaming and sports betting offerings, the authority confirmed in a press release.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and the province signed an amendment to the Gaming Framework Agreement (GFA) to establish the legal framework for a new online gaming site, which will be run by SIGA. The amendment also establishes a 50/50 revenue split between FSIN and the province.
SIGA has signed a Letter of Intent with the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SaskGaming), which establishes the general terms of SIGA operating and SaskGaming managing the new online site, which will feature online casino games and sports betting.
The site is anticipated to launch in 2022, and the contract calls for five years of exclusivity for SIGA to operate the site, reports Global News.
Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SaskGaming, stressed that the new online gaming site will be "a safe, regulated and secure platform" that will extend existing responsible gambling and player protection 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."
SIGA currently operates seven physical casinos in Saskatchewan as part of the Gaming Framework Agreement. All proceeds from the non-profit organization's casino operations go to local First Nation communities with the mission to strengthen their lives through employment, economic growth and positive community relations.
The leaders of SIGA and the FSIN have hailed this new agreement as a vital move for the province and its gaming industry, noting the important revenue opportunities it will bring for local communities and First Nations.
"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 SIGA Chair Chief Reginald Bellerose. "The additional revenue opportunities from online gaming and sports betting, will only increase SIGA’s ability as a non-profit to positively impact employment, economic growth, positive community relations and financial self-reliance of First Nations in the province."
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron added: "Many hours, days, weeks, months, and years have gone into making this a reality. It makes it all worthwhile. This will bring in new revenue opportunities that will benefit our 74 First Nations communities. Even during the challenging COVID-19, pandemic, we are continuing to work hard to bring positive outcomes for our First Nations."
After a long stretch of shutdown, SIGA was able to restart operations at land-based gaming properties in late June. At the time of writing, Bear Claw Casino and Hotel, Living Sky Casino, Painted Hand Casino, Gold Eagle Casino, Gold Horse Casino, and Dakota Dunes Casino Northern Lights Casino are operating at a reduced capacity.