A report from federal agency Statistics Canada attributes an average spend of C0 on gambling per Saskatchewan household for the year 2008. The second highest spend by province was Alberta at C5, according to CBC News. Quebec households spent the least, coming in at C0 each.
The result for the Saskatchewan government is that it received more gambling revenue per capita than any other province. In 2008 that came to C$830 for every resident over the age of 18.
Saskatchewan residents were also more likely to gamble than other Canadians.
Statistics Canada spokeswoman Katherine Marshall said, “The participation rate in Saskatchewan is 27 percent of all households who say they’ve visited or played a casino or VLT. That’s the highest rate in the country.”
Marshall believes the figures are so high because Saskatchewan has eight casinos. Two are run by the provincial government and six by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.
Ken Cheveldayoff, the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Gaming Corp., which runs the province’s operations in Regina and Moose Jaw, believes some of the good result is due to the quality of Saskatchewan’s casinos.
“I would credit SIGA and SGC gaming with marketing very well, with providing an attractive and a positive entertainment experience for people,” said Cheveldayoff. “That’s why they keep coming back; that’s why they do well.”
But not all would call the result a success. Cathy Dickson, a problem gambling coordinator for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, said she views the news as negative.
Cheveldayoff believes that most of Saskatchewan’s gamblers are casual gamblers and not addicted, and says he would rather govern a province that spends the most per capita on gambling than the least. He points to programs already in place that he believes are capable of detecting problem gambling.
The province is now looking at introducing online gaming to capture some of the estimated C$40 million that is already flowing to the sector.