The gambling monopoly in Canada’s four Atlantic provinces enjoyed “significant” growth in its digital player base, despite admitting that its online offering has a hard time competing with internationally licensed online competitors.
This week, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC), which oversees gaming in the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, announced that its annual profit for fiscal 2017-18 had hit C$419.2m (US$324.4m) in the 12 months ending March 31.
While ALC crowed about the profit exceeding its budget forecast by C$1.8m, it represented a C$2.8m decline from 2016-17’s profit total, and nearly C$13m below the 2015-16 total. Still, it represented the fourth straight year that the sum topped C$400m, so onward and, er, downward.
ALC’s net revenue hit C$756.1m in 2017-18, down less than 1% from 2016-17. The bulk (C$439.1m) came via nearly 6,300 video lottery terminals, while lottery ticket revenue added C$297.4m and ‘entertainment centers’ contributed C$19.6m.
ALC’s digital offering, which consists of draw ticket sales, instant win games, iBingo and the Pro-Line parlay sports betting product, reported an active customer base of 72k, up from 63k the previous year. Total iGames sales amounted to around C$16m.
The online increase was credited to the rollout of the new Digital Instants brand, which more than doubled its budgeted C$3.5m forecast. However, the launch of Mini-Games alongside the iBingo product was a dud, netting barely 10% of its expected C$2m.
Pro-Line enjoyed a 15.7% rise in active online accounts, but sales fell and while ALC is planning website and mobile upgrades to enhance the online betting experience, the monopoly believes “the ability to provide a single-event betting option for competitive parity is required to ensure a sustainable presence” for the betting vertical.
ALC CEO Brent Scrimshaw said he expects further digital growth in the current fiscal year, but ALC still hasn’t indicated a willingness to launch the same type of fully-fledged online gambling products available in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.