Manitoba’s move to electronic table games costs 150 casino jobs

WINNIPEG — Winnipeg casinos are betting on a new gaming trend to help reopen, but it’s at the cost of more than 100 casino jobs.

The sounds of chips being tossed on a table may be a thing of the past, as the Canadian Gaming Association says a new wave of gambling machines is taking over.

“It’s been something that’s been emerging in gaming across North America and across Canada for several years now,” said Paul Burns, president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association.

Machines called stadium gaming have a central dealer or computer that controls an array of seats.

Burns said the format allows for more options for casino operators and more variety for customers.

“The dealer may be miked so they could have a conversation with the group and some acts as hosts,” he said. “It’s really up to the operator. It’s a unique environment they can create.”

According to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, the technology is being implemented at Club Regent Casino, McPhillips Station Casino and the Shark Club Gaming Centre.

“As part of our commitment to the continuous improvement of our gaming operations and meeting customer entertainment needs, we are in the process of implementing a hybrid of electronic table games, similar to what other jurisdictions already have in place,” read a statement from MBLL.

The switch to stadium gaming, however, is costing some casino workers their job.

The union representing casino workers says 150 people were offered voluntary buyouts. Of those, 124 members accepted the buyout, 24 employees were reassigned to other positions, and two people were laid off.

A union representative told CTV News the buyouts were more than fair.

As for the new games, they could be integral for casino’s post-pandemic recovery.

“Table games have really only been opened in one or two provinces at this point for a limited time. This gives a table experience for players being able to social distance,” said Burns.

Until provincial health restrictions loosen, the games will have to wait.

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