Stadium Gaming Headed For Manitoba Casinos

By Ben Hamill - April 19 2021

Stadium Gaming Headed For Manitoba Casinos

Manitoba’s government-run casinos will be embracing a new way of doing table games once current restrictions ease and gaming venues finally get to un-shutter their doors. “Stadium gaming” is anticipated to be the perfect fit for a physically distanced world.

A gaming approach already adopted by several other Canadian provinces, a dealer leading the way while players are each seated at their own individual interactive gaming station with special video display, could very well become the latest in a long line of new normals. Since it’s a way of doing table games that allows for proper physical distancing between players, and between players and casino employees, stadium gaming could very well become a permanent way of playing at Winnipeg casinos.

What’s more, it’s also a new way of doing table games that will allow Winnipeg casinos, which are run by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, to call back many of those employees who previously worked table games in the province.

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Less Humans – More Machines

Even so, since stadium gaming relies heavily on technology and automated processes, a Manitoba-wide roll-out will necessarily greatly reduce the number of casino employees at Winnipeg’s Shark Club Gaming Centre, Club Regent Casino, and McPhillips Station Casino.

Although Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries weren’t ready to confirm the exact number of employees affected across the gaming establishments, Unifor has now confirmed that at least 150 people were offered severance packages earlier this year. Since these were offered on a voluntary basis, folks had the option of saying either yay or nay to said packages. Of those 150, Unifor national representative Len Olafson says 124 labour union members accepted the buyout.

More Tech Was A Given

Olafson said Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries made these buyout packages available to employees over and above what the collective bargaining agreement between the employer and the union provided for. Even so, many people – mostly table dealers – opted not to accept simply because they’d been working their jobs for so long. Since they have a pension there, they chose instead to stay on in order to hopefully one day retire.

That a shift to electronic gaming had been on the cards for Manitoba casinos even before the global health crisis hit is truly unfortunate, Olafson explained, and very much so because of jobs being lost. Machines would now perform many of the tasks human employees typically would have been relied on for in the past.

The province hasn’t yet revealed any possible reopening date for casinos.

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