Online Auctions for SLGA permits to begin February 6

Starting next month, the Government of Saskatchewan will start auctions to sell permits associated with Saskatchewan Gaming and Liquor Gaming Authority (SLGA) stores.

Auctions for the permits will be staggered, beginning on February 6, with the final auctions starting on February 15.

Lorri Carr, the Minister Responsible for the SLGA, said the stores would have to follow SLGA rules.

“Any individual that takes ownership of a retail sale permit still has to meet all of the standards of Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, even if it is sold privately.”

The highest bid will allow the individual or business to apply for a retail store permit. To hold a retail store permit, the prospective retailer must meet regular SLGA liquor licensing requirements, including good character.

“Just because they get the permit, they still have to go through the process and the application of the retail sales permit, and if they don’t qualify, then that permit would go back into the shuffle,” Carr said.

Simply being the highest bidder does not automatically qualify someone to hold a retail store permit.

Carr also said that the bidder must complete the permit process and open a retail liquor store before they can sell their interest in the permit.

“Within the guidelines that we have set up, you actually have to open a store, and it has to be running,” she said. “They can’t just get the permit from us and then sell it before they actually have an operating store.”

The retail store must be opened within 18 months of the auction closing.

The upcoming auctions won’t be the first time the Government sold SLGA permits this way. Carr believes this round of auctions will succeed like the previous round.

“I think we’ve shown in the past the way the permits have gone out, and individual businesses have taken those businesses, and they’ve become successful in many different communities across the province; we don’t expect this to be any different.”

Carr reiterated that they are selling the stores due to a drop in revenue.

“The whole point of this is the retail stores that the Government owns at this current point in time; eventually, we are going to be losing money, and it’s going to be very shortly,” she said. “With the money that we won’t be spending on that or the fact that we would have to put a lot of money into refurbishing these stores to bring them up to date, that money can be better spent on healthcare services, social services, highways.”

The auctions with see those interested in bidding having to pre-register and pay a $5,000 deposit to participate in an auction. Each auction will be open for ten days and take place in real-time, with bids visible as they are made.

The Government noted that the auctions are for the retail store permit only.

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