Sask. casinos prepare to open with physical distancing measures in place

Bingo halls and casinos slated to open July 9

The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) is getting ready to open doors to their seven casinos as the province enters Phase 4 of its COVID-19 reopening plan.

Zane Hansen, SIGA’s president and CEO says they will be practicing social distancing.

“The experience here will be a little bit different but it’s still going to be fun and entertaining,” Hansen said. “You will see lines and screening as you come up to our properties. We will control occupancy levels in our facilities relative to the number of gaming spaces we have.”

Those seven facilities are located in Prince Albert, North Battleford, Swift Current, Yorkton, Lloydminster, Whitebear and the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.

All seven casinos closed for business on March 18 when Saskatchewan called a state of emergency because of COVID-19.

Hansen adds even though they will be making a few changes, things will be relatively the same.

“I think it will look very similar to what your accustomed to seeing when you come through the door. All the product will be here all the lights are on – everything but there will be a chair and there will be two empty spaces and a chair between the next slot machine over.”

During the closure, SIGA celebrated its 25-year anniversary.

The celebrations were put on hold, but Hansen says eventually that celebration will happen.

“We were preparing for heading into our 25th year of operations with a number of activities. We’re going to put them on hold for a short time here, focus on getting our properties back open but you will see something over the next year.”

The casinos are excited to get back to business on July 9 when the province will also be reopening bingo halls.

Reporter / Saskatoon

Priscilla is Cree and a member of Mistawasis Nehiyawak in Saskatchewan. She has worked with APTN National News in the past as a reporter in Winnipeg, host for an entertainment segment, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Wolf is an alumni of the INCA –Indian Communications Arts Program at FNUC & has a BA of Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina. She brings over ten years of experience working in media across the prairie provinces.