MBLL: Liquor, cannabis sales rise, while casinos, VLTs take big hit during pandemic


We’re getting a closer look at the impact the pandemic has had on Manitoba casinos and VLTs.

According to the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries annual report, casino revenues during the 2020/21 fiscal year were down more than 85 per cent compared to the previous year. That’s more than a $195 million drop.

Casinos were closed a total of 282 days between March of 2020 and 2021.

VLT’s also took a big hit, with a nearly $217 million drop in revenue. The VLT network was shut down for 195 days during the year.

But casinos and VLT’s closing led to a spike in online gaming, which had a $51 million increase.

READ MORE: More Manitobans buying alcohol during pandemic

And cannabis and liquor sales in Manitoba stayed strong during the pandemic.

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According to the report, cannabis sales during the year were up nearly $29 million compared to the previous year. MBLL says much of that is due to 42 new stores opening in the province.

Liquor sales were boosted by more than $85 million during the year, much of the increase occurring in Liquor Marts and from the home delivery option.

Both liquor and cannabis stores are considered essential and remained open during widespread provincial shutdowns.

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