Saskatchewan is one of the boreal and prairie provinces in the west of Canada. It is the sole province that does not have any natural borders. There are more than 100,000 lakes in Saskatchewan, and the population is around the 1.2 million mark.
Saskatchewan is bordered to the south with South Dakota and Montana. All forms of gambling are allowed in the state. There is also a significant presence of tribal casinos. All of the gambling operators are subjected to the rules of the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation Act.
The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) is the main entity in charge of gaming in the province. It owns and operates all video lottery terminals and slot machines located in the casinos. The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority oversees casino regulations and ownership.
As mentioned, all forms of gambling are legal in Saskatchewan.
This ranges from shores and sports betting to casino games, table games, and video lottery terminals, which are operated by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.
Video lottery terminals were introduced in Saskatchewan in 1993 after the hospitality industry expressed concerns that businesses in the local region were struggling due to people traveling to nearby provinces to play at terminals.
Restaurants and hotels in the province are now allowed to host these machines on their premises. Currently, there are more than 600 terminals in the Saskatchewan area.
There is a limit of 4,000 of these machines allowed in the province. The SLGA is in charge of most gambling activities in addition to overseeing dice games and slot machines in the SIGA casinos. A prominent study in 2006 led to the proposal of significant changes to the gambling sector in Saskatchewan.
The proposal suggested a stricter cap on the number of video lottery terminals allowed at casinos and looked at curtailing other machines as well. The study found that the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan had the highest number of video lottery terminals in the country per capita along with the highest rates of problem gamblers.
The main casinos in the province are Casino Moose Jaw, Casino Regina, and Marquis Downs.
Casino Moose Jaw is located in Moose Jaw and features more than 250 gaming machines as well as five table games.
Casino Regina, situated in Regina, hosts over 750 gaming machines and 41 table games.
Marquis is a clay horse racing track located in Saskatoon. It hosts thoroughbred and quarter horse racing events, and it houses a racino with a dozen gaming machines. Currently, there are an additional six tribal casinos in Saskatchewan.
The first one opened its doors in 1996, and the most recent one launched in 2008 – the Living Sky Casino. In 1995, an agreement was reached between the government and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) to permit casino development. This led to the creation of the SIGA.
In 2002, the SIGA and the Federation signed the Casino Operating Agreement, allowing the SIGA to charge losses it incurred from table games and ancillary operations as an expense for their slots operation.
The current tribal casinos in the province are:
The province has no plans to get involved in the online gambling space. There is a legal debate over whether the First Nation tribal reservations hold to the legal requirements of running an online operation. The tribes believe they have the right to operate online platforms, but the provincial government disagrees.
One tribe tried to launch its own online platform in 2012, which stayed in operation until 2014 but was forced to shut down due to economic reasons. Currently, there are no legal to gamble online in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan is home to a single professional sports team – the CFL Roughriders. Sports betting in the province is provided through a service known as Sport Select, which can also be found in Manitoba, Western Canada, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. This offering is not as competitive as the offshore sportsbooks that many residents use illegally.
You can play Sport Select through licensed retailers, such as gas stations or convenience stores. The maximum bet is $250 a day at a given location. Available sports are basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and hockey. There are several different markets on offer.
The Pro Line market is a parlay bet that requires you to predict if a team will win, draw, or lose. You can make between two and six selections, and you need to get them all right in order to win. The maximum bet you can place with this market is $100.
The Over/Under market allows you to predict whether the final score of a game will be over or under the number proposed by the bookie. You can make up to ten selections as part of this bet, and the maximum wager allowed is $100.
The Point Spread market allows as many as a dozen selections. You can place a maximum bet of $100.
There is a pools market available, where a portion of every entry goes into a prize pool. Whoever gets the most selections right over a given period claims the prize pool. In the event of a tie, the pot is split accordingly.
Prop bets options are also on offer. You select two different players and predict which one will perform better in one of six predetermined games that you can choose from.
Finally, there is a Double Play market, which combines the Pro Line offering with the over/under bet. You can make up to six selections. There is also a combo play market, which adds the point spread market to the double play offering.
No legal online sports betting platform is currently available in Saskatchewan.
The SLGA provides licenses and regulates pari-mutuel betting in the province. The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency is the overseer of animal racing, and it’s the only federal authority in charge of gambling activities on a provincial level.
The Queensbury Downs race track in Regina was closed in 2003 after the race handle had been decreasing over a number of years. The latest horse track in the province to open its doors was the West Meadows Raceway, the third track currently in operation in Saskatchewan, along with the Yorkton Exhibition Park and Marquis Downs.
In 2012, there was an ending to horse racing funds that were being provided through grants. After failing to obtain a Home Market Area license that permits hosting live race meetings, the West Meadow Raceway was unable to hold any horse races in 2013.
The only venue that had received this license was in the Saskatoon area. This type of license allows for telephone and simulcast betting.
While poker is legal in Saskatchewan, there is no way to legally play it online. There are numerous poker tables and tournaments held at the various gaming establishments in the province.
Saskatchewan residents have access to traditional lottery forms, such as standard lottery tickets, scratch tickets, and keno. The lottery in the province is operated by the Saskatchewan Lottery division in Sask Sport Inc., the manager and conductor of the lottery products provided by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.
Lottery schemes have been allowed in Saskatchewan since 1969. In 1974, the Western Canada Lottery Corporation was created by Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Alberta. The partnership now also includes Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory. British Columbia is no longer a member.
Bingo is a form of charitable gambling in Saskatchewan that is overseen by the Gaming Licensing Branch of Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. Anyone looking to host bingo events needs to obtain a license. There are many bingo halls dotted across the province.
Saskatchewan offers all forms of legal gambling, although it can be restrictive in some matters.
There are eight casinos located in the province, including tribal and standard establishments.
Residents have access to many table games, poker games, and slot machines. There is also a comprehensive sports betting and lottery offering.
The main downside for the region is the lack of a legal online gambling platform, which means that many residents turn to illegal offshore operations for their internet gambling needs.