The Selinger government is expanding VLT gambling in Manitoba.
A provincial spokeswoman said this morning that up to 500 additional video lottery terminals will be permitted in the province.
"We are responding to the demand from VLT siteholders for additional VLTs. We are offering high-performing sites the opportunity to apply for additional VLTs to meet customer demand at those sites," Rachel Morgan said in an email.
"For larger sites that are currently at the cap, we are raising the site cap from 35 to 40 machines. The exact number of additional machines in the system is expected to be in the range of 500, but will depend on the number of applications."
Morgan said the expansion comes as the government makes a "historic commitment" to invest two per cent of profits from the newly merged Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp. into responsible gaming and consumption initiatives.
"We are making enhancements to the VLT program that will benefit communities, support local businesses and the hospitality industry, as well as increase revenues for the essential services that benefit Manitobans," she said.
Morgan said the province is also adopting a new progressive commission structure. The top commission will be increased, then gradually decreased as revenue levels rise.
It will apply to all siteholders currently receiving the 20 per cent commission (the non-exceptional siteholder arrangement). Veterans' clubs will maintain their existing commission of 25 per cent.
The existing tiered commission structure to help pay the mortgage on MTS Centre will not change, Morgan said. The commission structure for First Nations siteholders will also remain the same.
"New gaming opportunities that would benefit First Nations communities are in discussion at the Manitoba-AMC gaming table," she said.