Lottery lays off 61 employees due to COVID-19 and increasing demand for digital play
By Kate Northrop
As the coronavirus continues to linger in varying degrees around the world, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation is the latest lottery in the gaming industry to react. On Wednesday, the Canadian lottery laid off 61 employees, citing problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a shift in digital demand for gambling.
The cut represents a little over 9% of the corporation's workforce before the layoffs. According to the lottery's official website, ALC employed about 650 people.
The majority of those who lost their jobs live in the province of New Brunswick (43), where the lottery headquarters are located. Among the rest reside in Newfoundland and Labrador (7), Nova Scotia (7), and Prince Edward Island (4).
It is unclear what sorts of roles and responsibilities those 61 employees held before their termination.
During this unprecedented time, Chris Keevill took up the position of president and CEO of the interprovincial lottery corporation on April 1. This layoff was one of the first major decisions he made as head of the company.
"Atlantic Lottery is facing business challenges requiring the organization to urgently transform," he said in a statement. "The global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this need."
ALC first began to feel the negative economic effects of the growing pandemic when provinces began implementing regulations and restrictions in March to impede the virus' spread. Provinces banned the sale of lottery tickets in stores and restricted the use of video lottery terminals in bars, but the corporation really took a hit when retail outlets and bars completely closed across the entire Atlantic region not too long after that.
While ALC uses the layoffs as an opportunity to highlight its push for digital gaming, it is still unclear exactly how the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in influencing the decision to terminate 61 employees.
In its latest annual report, the company boasted a $422 million profit for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the fourth year in a row the corporation brought in more than $400 million.
"We are transforming our business to be a customer intimate, digitally centered organization, to meet player expectations and compete against new entrants in the gaming industry, whom operate from offshore and do not adhere to regulations," Keevill said.