Citizens in Alberta have been very eager to wager despite the recent economic downturn, with figures showing a huge amount spent by gamblers for the first six months of the 2015-16 fiscal year. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Authority have released the figures for the six month time frame which shows that Alberta has earned $909 million in overall gaming revenues. This amount is $12 million more than projected during budget estimates.
While the numbers are amazingly higher, it seems players are not enjoying the VLTs as expected. Video lottery terminal earnings are actually $18 million lower than was expected, despite the earnings from casinos and lotteries are increasingly higher. Many venues have seen major decreases in VLT game play, with significant percentage decreases in earnings from the gaming machines.
Bill Robinson, the president of the AGLC, stated in an interview that it is common that when one area of gaming revenues goes down, another goes up. The increase in the lottery cash is likely due to a string of jackpots that were higher, causing players to purchase more lottery tickets or for those who would not purchase one to do so.
Research coordinator of the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, Gary Smith, stated that a weak economy will affect gaming like entertainment can, as individuals will stop discretionary spending if they do not feel secure in their finances. Smith also stated that the NDP government should look at the policies of Alberta in regards to gaming consider the impact that VLTs have, though the area relies more on gaming revenues now as the energy royalties are dried up.