What are the greatest challenges facing the Canadian gaming industry today and how do you think they should be addressed?
One of our major challenges, and something that is not unique to our province, is the evolution of our client base and coming up with a mix that will attract and sustain a new demographic. The ongoing development of skill-based games is an area that we, and the entire gaming industry, are exploring right now. Casino gaming and iGaming will need to continue to evolve and the growth in popularity of things like fantasy sports, interactive video gaming and pay-to-play game apps may present opportunities or challenges that we need to be ready for.
What have been some of MBLL’s most recent developments and how do you think these developments will impact the gaming industry in Manitoba and Canada as a whole?
We try to do a number of things here that work for our business and our customers. I don’t think there’s any one thing that we’re doing here that is going to revolutionize the industry. We keep aware of what’s working elsewhere, listen to our customers, and use the knowledge gained to improve upon our operations, products and services. By staying on top of what’s current and popular we’ll tend to hit on more successes.
In our casinos, it’s all about creating an enjoyable environment for people to spend their time and entertainment dollar. Sometimes that means being different things to different people at the same time. For example, we recently held a sold-out Bingo-After-Dark event with a live DJ and dancing. Meanwhile in the lower level of our casino hundreds of poker players came out to enjoy our semi-annual PlayNow.com Poker Championship. So, we had two very well-attended events at the same venue for two very different audiences. The atmosphere throughout the whole casino that weekend was electric and everyone in the building could feel it.
We were also extremely pleased to launch the multi-jurisdictional, multi-platform Powerbucks® on PlayNow.com and on our casino slots. Guests have been enjoying the popular progressive game in growing numbers across the country and in October one of our Winnipeg PlayNow.com players won the $1 million Powerbucks® jackpot.
What’s your philosophy for ensuring the best and safest gaming experience for the consumer, government stakeholders and the gaming community?
We have been a long-time leader in social responsibility programs. Our corporation commits two per cent of anticipated net income to support all of our social responsibility programs. GameSense initiatives take a proactive approach to responsible gambling by encouraging responsible play with information on things like odds and personal limit-setting. In addition, we work to address opportunities identified during our Level 4 accreditation with the World Lottery Association Responsible Gaming Framework.