BCLC’s PlayNow Platform Coming to Saskatchewan in November

Saskatchewan is set to become the fourth province in the Canada Poker Network — joining BC, Manitoba, & Québec. Plans are also in the works for retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos.
beautiful scenic view of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at sunset with the sun shining behind the buildings of downtown and reflecting on the river.
July 13, 2022

We look forward to bringing a world-class igaming experience to the residents of Saskatchewan. Tribal gaming officials in Saskatchewan said they are targeting a November launch of the PlayNow igaming platform in the province, making regulated online casino gaming and sports betting available for the first time.

Online poker is also in the cards.

Under a vendor agreement signed last month, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) agreed to provide a customized version of its PlayNow platform to the non-profit Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA).

The BCLC launched its PlayNow platform in British Columbia (BC) in October 2004. It later launched PlayNow in Manitoba in January 2013, after signing a separate partnership with the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation in April 2012.

“One of the reasons that BCLC was chosen as the platform provider is that they had great success operating the PlayNow platform in BC, and they also have experience expanding the PlayNow brand into Manitoba,” Alanna Adamko, SIGA’s Director of Communications and Media Relations, told Canada Gaming Review on Tuesday.

“We hope to capitalize on the positive brand equity that PlayNow has built with the public in Western Canada over the years.”

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Saskatchewan Will Become Part of Canada Poker Network

Poker is mentioned explicitly in SIGA’s vendor agreement with the BCLC. Once the PlayNow platform launches in Saskatchewan, the province joins three others — BC, Manitoba, and Québec — as members of the informally-named Canada Poker Network.

The Canada Poker Network began in February 2011 after the BCLC began offering peer-to-peer poker to Espace Jeux, an igaming site run by Loto-Québec. Players in BC and Manitoba use PlayNow to access the network and share liquidity.

According to statistics from GameIntel, an independent industry monitor, the Canada Poker Network is currently averaging about 150 players at any one time. By comparison, BetMGM Poker Ontario averaged about 160 concurrent cash game seats earlier this month.

Adamko emphasized that PlayNow will only be available to players in Saskatchewan.

“During the registration process, the Player Account Management Platform will verify the player’s identity, and the system will also verify the location of the device being used to complete the registration,” Adamko said.

“After registration, the system will periodically verify the location of the device being used to access PlayNow to ensure that the player remains within the Saskatchewan geofence.”

Retail Sportsbooks Planned at Tribal Casinos

SIGA operates seven tribal casinos in Saskatchewan:

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

Adamko confirmed that SIGA is considering building retail sportsbooks at some facilities. “We are early in the planning process of our sports lounges and are considering multiple locations in strategic markets across Saskatchewan.”

She added that Saskatchewan residents could expect to see PlayNow advertising in the media and at local events over the summer as SIGA “ramps up” its pre-launch marketing plan. “We look forward to bringing a world-class igaming experience to the residents of Saskatchewan,” Adamko said.

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