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Manitoba's Gambling Revenues Projections Were Way Off

By: Russell Potvin , Wed. Oct. 15, 2014

Manitoba's Gambling Revenues Miss

Manitoba's estimates for gambling revenues missed the mark by a significant margin of about 20 percent.

One of the main advantages for federal and provincial regulation of online gambling is the tax revenues that are brought in. Along these lines, they are often used as a major source of value in setting a budget, but one problem with this is that it often relies on projections of revenues which aren't always accurate. Manitoba has run into this problem in a major way this month as they've found that their lotteries pulled only about 80 percent of their original estimates.

The official number for their projections was $346 million, and they only pulled in $278 million. This is a miss of about $68 million which is a pretty substantial amount of money. What makes this more of an issue than it would be otherwise is that Manitoba based their budget on these projections, and now they're $68 million short compared to what they thought they would get. This is a problem for obvious reasons.

As far as the reasons behind these lackluster performances, Susan Olynik is a spokeswoman who mentioned a few possible reasons. First, there are lower numbers of visitors to Winnipeg casinos because of how harsh the winter months were, and certain video lottery machines were held up in terms of being rolled out to a number of locations, and that led to smaller revenues from those machines for the year than what was anticipated. When you pile on a $4 million donation to a downtown Winnipeg project for a gambling center, the numbers start to really add up.

Keep in mind that these numbers are for the previous fiscal year. For the new fiscal year, things are already looking up. They have already seen more than $6 million in revenues from video lottery machines alone, and these are impressive numbers. Overall, it's looking like Manitoba will learn from their mistakes on this and adjust future projections accordingly, but it's always risky to count your eggs before they're hatched. We hope that no more problems will hold up Manitoba from meeting their projections for the next fiscal year.