Manitoba to Suspend Gambling Expansion

Manitoba to Suspend Gambling Expansion

The new government in Manitoba has made the decision to suspend – perhaps temporarily—any gambling expansion in the province. The government stated that they want to pause any expansion of gambling so that they can review the province’s overall gambling strategy. They want to see if any of the gambling strategies in Manitoba need to be changed. As part of their overall strategy to ensure the government is working as simply and successfully as possible.

The Province of Manitoba

Manitoba is quite literally in the center of Canada. While it is not the most populous in Canada, it has a population of 1.5 million people. The capital of Manitoba is Winnipeg, with a population of 700,000. The province’s economy relies heavily on natural resources. Agriculture, oil and natural gas, forestry and mining are the top economic resources. The province has been looking to expand its economy into other areas, such as tourism and gambling, especially since the number of gambling resources to the north of the province and the south of the province are few.

Gambling in Manitoba

Manitoba currently has eight casino resorts, mostly in the Winnipeg area. The province also has poker rooms, as poker is a popular pastime. Like the casinos, the poker rooms are also in the Winnipeg area. Manitoba also has a horseracing track in the Winnipeg area. The province allows parlay sports gambling. Online casino and poker games are also available. The lottery has a full complement of online lottery games, lottery drawings, scratch off tickets, and video lottery terminals. Keno is also available.

The Progressive Conservative Government and Changes

The Progressive Conservative government has been in power in the province since 2017, after landslide victories in the 2016 general election in Parliament. The policies of the progressive conservatives are to simplify regulations to do business, to downsize social programs and move people off welfare, and to simplify the tax structure for oil and gas companies.

brian pallisterThe Progressive Conservative Party has expressed concerns about gambling in general, especially with regard to problem gamblers in the province. The government noted that in many cases, while recreational gamblers tend to be from the middle and upper classes, many problem gamblers are not. Instead, they come from the lower class and from people on welfare. The party in power said they are concerned that gambling companies are taking advantage of problem gamblers from the welfare rolls. These people, the government stated, cannot afford to lose their money due to a gambling addiction.

In addition, the government has advocated a review of the entire gambling enterprises in the province. The Progressive Conservatives have said they want to do a comprehensive review of the gambling strategy in the province because they do not believe the policy is uniform. 460

The government has expressed concerns about casino advertising and sales tactics, which they do not think is consumer friendly. In addition, officials within the government believe that many Crown corporations are too job-heavy. Those Crown corporations (including gambling) might benefit from trimming and job cuts to make them more efficient.

All of the policies outlined by the Tory government are geared towards the party’s pledge of cutting the provincial sales tax by 2020. They also want to balance the budget by 2024. One of the reasons the Tories were elected to a majority in Parliament is because of their pledge to reduce the deficit and balance the budget by 2024. The current deficit in Manitoba stands at a little over $700 million.

While the gambling enterprises within the province have expressed concern about the changes to gambling, they are waiting to see what happens. It could be at the end of the review that nothing happens at all. The changes in gambling could also be smaller than the businesses feared.

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