Alberta overall gaming revenue at US$684.5 million

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Authority  released the numbers for the first half of 2015-16 fiscal year and gaming revenue surpassed the projected budget by more than US$9 million.

Canada.- The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Authority (AGLC,) reported that for the first six months of the 2015-16 fiscal year, overall gaming revenue reached  CA$909 million(US$684.5 million.) That is more than CA$12 million (US$9 million) higher than budget’s projection. Money from both casino gaming machines and lotteries have spiked higher, whilst the amount earned from video lottery terminals is lower than expected around CA$18 million (US$13.5 million.)

Alberta gaming by the numbers from April 2015 to Sept. 2015: Revenue from VLTs was US$203 million ($13.55 million lower than projected,) revenue from casino gaming machines US$332 million (US$6 million higher than projected,) revenue from lotteries US$146 million (US$16.57 million higher than projected,) total gaming revenue US$684.44 million (US$9 million higher than projected,)

According to Bill Robinson, AGLC’s president, it’s common that when one source of gaming revenue goes down, others go up and he added it would be “premature” to blame the low oil prices for the shift in gaming dollars, although it’s likely one factor in the switch from the VLTs that are in bars and restaurants across Alberta to lotteries and casino gaming machines. Furthermore, Robinson said that the increase in lottery cash was encouraged by a string of higher jackpots, which lured in people who ordinarily don’t buy tickets.

“In a downturn, where there’s less disposable income like we’re seeing today … people have a tendency to tighten up,” said Robinson. “They really look at where they’re going to spend that disposable income.”

Garry Smith, research co-ordinator with the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, explained that a weak economy generally affects gaming as people will pull back their discretionary spending when they feel less secure, although he admits that the economic slowdown may be a factor in the boost in lottery sales. “They’re a small price to pay and if you hit it big, you get yourself out of your financial difficulties, and will keep doing it until their money runs out,” Smith said.