Deficit 2020: Alberta government’s share of gaming revenue plunges

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The hotel is about half as full as normal, banquet halls have restrictions on how large the gatherings can be indoors, and live performances by artists the resort was expecting to host are all being pushed into next year.

“We used to do about five shows a month. Each brings in about 2,400 people,” he said Friday.

Mahajan said plans have been submitted to the government on behalf of operators for how table games could reopen safely. River Cree has 40 table games that have been closed.

“I think all of the operators are ready with a great plan for table games to open up with social distancing or barriers between people just like they have in slots,” he said.

Sherene Khaw, assistant communications director for Alberta Health, confirmed her department has received proposals to allow the safe reopening of table games.

“We’re developing guidelines and will be posting them in the coming weeks,” she said in an email Sunday.

Mahajan said the focus is on doing things safely. The casino has not been running promotions and has nearly doubled its cleaning staff, he said.

He wasn’t comfortable saying exactly how much revenue his business has lost during the pandemic.

“We’re going to find every way to keep our doors open. However we’re going to do it very safely and responsibly,” he said.

The government’s overall drop in revenue predicted for 2020-21 is being blamed for the new projected deficit of $24.2 billion.

Total revenue of $38.4 billion is forecast, down $11.5 billion from the budget tabled prior to the pandemic. Almost 80 per cent of the drop is from lower income taxes, resource revenue and net income from gaming.

Along with gaming, government income from liquor is forecasted to come in $2 million lower than was expected. Predictions for cannabis income, however, have gone up $6 million.


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