Nfld. & Labrador

Atlantic Lottery lays off 61 employees, citing digital demand and COVID-19

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation slashed about nine per cent of its workforce on Wednesday, saying the move was propelled by a shift to digital gambling and COVID-19.

Majority of layoffs in N.B., with some in N.S., N.L. and P.E.I.

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation laid off 61 employees on Friday, with the majority of the layoffs happening in New Brunswick, where the ALC is headquartered. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation slashed about nine per cent of its workforce on Wednesday, saying the move was propelled by a shift to digital gambling and COVID-19.

The majority of the casualties were in New Brunswick, where 43 people lost their jobs. Seven people were laid off in Newfoundland and Labrador, seven in Nova Scotia and four in Prince Edward Island.

In a statement sent to CBC News late on Wednesday, the corporation said the layoffs were due to a shift in digital demand for gambling, as well as problems from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Atlantic Lottery is facing business challenges requiring the organization to urgently transform," president and CEO Chris Keevill wrote. "The global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this need."

This is one of Keevill's first moves as head of the interprovincial gambling corporation. He took over the role on April 1.

Chris Keevill is the president and CEO of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. (Atlantic Lottery Corporation)

ALC was hampered by pandemic regulations in some provinces, such as Newfoundland and Labrador, where among the first actions taken by the province in March were banning the sale of lottery tickets in stores and forbidding the use of video lottery terminals in bars.

Things got worse as retail outlets and bars across the entire Atlantic region closed because of the pandemic.

As a result, ALC pushed digital gaming. The corporation says it's going to continue moving in that direction.

"We are transforming our business to be a customer intimate, digitally centred 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 wrote.

According to its latest annual report, ALC garnered $422 million in profit in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. It was the fourth consecutive year the corporation brought in more than $400 million.

ALC is a joint venture owned by the four Atlantic provinces, employing about 650 people before Wednesday's layoffs.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

 

With files from Mark Quinn

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