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Study: Lockout hits Canadian merchants near arenas

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm •  Published: December 4, 2012
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Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist for BMO Nesbitt Burns, estimates that a canceled NHL season would trim just 0.1 percent from the gross domestic product because people would be spending their hockey money elsewhere.

A University of Montreal professor specializing in sports business said that while the lockout is hurting workers and businesses near arenas, the broader financial effect is minimal.

"The net loss, if there's a loss, it's very small. People make a big fuss about it but certainly this impact is quite small in the aggregate," Michel Poitevin said in an interview.

"Of course, we can find some losers from the lockout. It's harder to find the winners because it's a lot more diffused — people can spend it anywhere. But I don't think overall there's a big impact."

The lockout is also hurting lotteries that offer sports betting and provincial governments that earn millions of dollars in lottery profits.

Loto-Quebec says it is losing about $500,000 a week in revenues without its top selling sport, while the Quebec government is out a quarter of that amount, or more than $1.4 million since the conflict started.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. said its sports revenues have been cut by 12 percent. Hockey betting generated $72 million, or more than 26 percent of the $270 million wagered on sports lotteries last fiscal year. The Ontario government receives about 25 to 28 percent of revenues.

During the 2004 lockout, Ontario lost $25 million in sports betting revenues while Quebec's revenues dropped by $17 million from $46 million.

"While we acknowledge that there's been some impact on our business, we appreciate the fact that it's probably been a greater impact on a lot of either businesses and individuals that really rely on the sport and the industry for their livelihood," Ontario Lottery and Gaming spokesman Don Pister said.