Loto-Quebec profits plummet due to decreased gaming amid COVID-19 crisis

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Loto-Quebec reported a plummeting net profit Friday when it released its annual report.

The provincial Crown corporation posted profits of $457.6 million for the year ending March 31, nearly a third of the $1,353.5 million generated the previous year.

As a result, the dividend paid to its shareholder, the Quebec government, was $432.6 million, compared to $1328.5 million in fiscal 2020.

Overall, revenues were almost cut in half, from $2.74 billion to $1.41 billion.

The decrease is primarily attributed to the casino and gaming sectors, which were hit hard by the pandemic.

"These significant variances were primarily due to the closure of our casinos and gaming facilities and the suspension of video lottery, network bingo and Kinzo operations for more than three-quarters of the year, as well as the suspension of lottery sales at retail locations until early May," explained president and CEO Lynne Roiter.

At the same time, expenses declined 25.5 per cent from $903.6 million to $673.5 million.

Lottery revenues decreased 7.4 per cent to $860.9 million from $929.4 million a year earlier.

The Loto-Quebec website, however, did see an increase in revenue as many players turned to the platform when lottery sales were suspended at retailers and gaming facilities closed.

Roiter is set to leave the management of Loto-Quebec after 35 years with the Crown corporation. She will be replaced by Jean-François Bergeron.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 4, 2021.

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