Loto-Québec, Canada’s largest “Horoscope” (or “lottery”) operator, is in financial trouble. The lottery company is in the red by $155 million, and its owner, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), is facing bankruptcy. Loto-Québec’s financial woes are not a coincidence, the company has been losing money for years. Loto-Québec’s financial problems stem from the fact that its ticket-buying customers are getting older and fewer and fewer new players are buying tickets.
Loto-Québec is the central administrator of all the games of the Quebec provincial government, and they have made significant losses in recent years. As of 2002, they had $1.6 billion in assets, but this has shrunk to $386 million in 2012. They are still sitting on $5.7 billion worth of debt, which is very high for a provincial government.
Loto-Québec has not had the best of financial years, and the Quebec state agency has seen revenues fall significantly over the past 12 months. Last week, the company released its financial statistics for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ends on the 31st. The month of March is coming to an end. The results show that the gaming regulator has only met a third of its revenue targets for 2019-20. This unprecedented situation proved to be extremely difficult for the casino industry in Canada, as the casinos that surfaced had already closed and reopened several times. Most of the country’s gaming establishments were not in operation for much of 2020, including the provincial Loto-Quebec casino. For now, the company’s facilities remain closed.
As a result of the discontinuation of casino operations, Corona Corporation’s revenues decreased significantly from prior years. In fiscal 2020-21, the company posted a profit of C$457.6 million, just a third of the C$1,328.5 million in fiscal 2019-20. The dividend payout for the year was C$432.6 million, a pittance compared to last year’s C$1,328.5 million. In the last fiscal year, total revenues fell by almost half, from C$1.41 billion to C$2.74 billion. Lynn Reuter, CEO of Crown Agency, said the results were due to the closure of the company’s casinos and the suspension of video lotteries, network bingo and Kinzo offers for more than three-quarters of the year and the absence of lottery sales until early May. According to the financial statements, the company’s expenses also decreased from C$903.6 million to over C$673.5 million, a decrease of 25.5%. Lottery revenues also fell 7.4% to C$860.9 million from C$929.4 million a year earlier. Revenue from the company’s online platform has increased as many players have turned to the online platform while lottery and slot machine businesses have closed. In addition, Ms. Reuther has already announced her retirement plans, according to which her employment with Crown Corporation will end after 35 years. The government will have to pay the former president a huge pension bonus of 430,000 Canadian dollars. Mrs Reuther will be replaced by Jean-François Bergeron.
Earlier, Loto-Quebec had announced that something was going on regarding the relocation of the Salon de Gé. The game room is now being moved to a new location at Mega Center Beauport. The total cost of the move is more than $11.9 million Canadian. The decision was made at a National Assembly meeting without a vote on the candidates, which caused some dissatisfaction among residents.
Recently, Crown Corporation made some improvements to the game’s content on its official website. Through a partnership with Scientific Games and its Open Gaming platform, Crown will be able to receive content from AGS, a casino brand making its debut in the Canadian market. With this agreement, the provider will entertain gaming enthusiasts in Quebec with its rich portfolio of iGaming products. Source: Loto Quebec profits plummet due to drop in number of games COVID-19 crisis, CTV News, June 4, 2021.