Bede Gaming: “Almost inevitable” Canadian gaming market will expand further

Following on from the first of a two-part interview, SBC News and Bede Gaming Chief Strategy Officer Alistair Boston-Smith continued their conversation on the new Ontario market. 

Discussing Ontario and its initial performance since opening to the gaming and betting industry last April, Boston-Smith was asked whether he envisions potentially other Canadian provinces welcoming operators to their jurisdiction. 

He said: “The major thing the other provinces will be looking at is the taxation income that’s coming in Ontario and whether that could be replicated in neighbouring provinces. 

“As lotteries, as they have been monopolies, they do talk a lot. There is a lot of sharing of information because quite frankly, they’re not competing with one another. 

“They’ll want to see a reasonable amount of data, they’ll want to see that the regulator is applying a strong line in regards to maintenance of closing down the grey market around the restrictions to licences. 

“But I think in the same way as the US has expanded… I think in the next five years it’s almost inevitable.”

The conversation then shifted to how has COVID-19 affected the lottery and are there any new challenges that need to be faced in the future.

Boston-Smith acknowledges the role the pandemic has played on lotteries admitting operators had to take a “hard pill to swallow” on the negative impact it has had. 

However, Boston-Smith also highlights that operators who did not focus on digitising their product should have treated it more as a transactional process rather than a “magazine” part of their business. 

“In the Gausellman Group, retail has bounced back very strongly in a number of core markets,” said Boston-Smith in reference to one of Bede’s partners. 

“But, the reality is that customers – and all of us – changed our habits entirely. Everyday we’re doing things using digital or mobile. Lotteries are having to adapt, whereas as I say, there were a good significant amount of lotteries who perhaps had a mobile app that was simply a result service. 

“So I think COVID has shone a very strong light on these things. It ensured that a significant amount of focus was put into digital capabilities, teams, expertise, etc. Whereas previously in both gaming and lotteries, perhaps a number of them would work with a partner who took everything off them but didn’t have the strength of performance.”