Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan's 1st online casino shuts down

The company that billed itself as Saskatchewan's first online gambling website has folded.

CEO Bernie Shepherd says site being shut down for economic reasons

The company that billed itself as Saskatchewan's first online gambling website has folded.

After two years, Northern Bear Casino has suspended operations indefinitely, CEO Bernie Shepherd said in a news release.

Shepherd's company, GEObet Gambling Network, said the site is being shut down for economic reasons.

The online gambling world is "very competitive" and costs are high, the company said.

Even though Northern Bear Casino never did create any revenue or jobs, Shepherd maintained the venture was nevertheless an example of what can be accomplished when First Nations people exercise their inherent and constitutional rights.

Shepherd is a former chief of the White Bear First Nation as well as a man who played a pivotal role in the establishment of First Nations-run casinos in Saskatchewan.

While chief in the 1990s, Shepherd set up a physical casino with slot machines on the Carlyle-area reserve.

The RCMP seized those machines, but following negotiations between First Nations groups and the province, there was a major expansion of gambling in Saskatchewan.

Today, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations controls the Bear Claw Casino on White Bear First Nation and five others. The Saskatchewan government owns casinos in Moose Jaw and Regina.

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