Government-Run Online Gambling in Canada
If you are living in Ontario, Saskatchewan, or Quebec, you may have noticed that there is a growing trend towards government-run online gambling. The reasons for this are varied and include the growth of legalized online gambling, the desire for a safe and secure environment for gamblers, and the need to protect the consumer.
The Ontario government is establishing a regulated online gambling market. It is creating a level playing field for new businesses and consumers. This plan is expected to generate tax revenues for important programs in Ontario. In addition to creating a safer environment for online gambling, the government is also looking to maximize the number of options available to Canadians.
For a long time, international gambling companies have targeted the Canadian market. Several large brands have launched in the province, including Bet99, DraftKings, JackpotCity, and PointsBet. However, the provincial government has not yet announced its percentage of revenue to be taken from regulated online gambling sites. As a result, many Canadians may not know if there are other options to choose from.
According to industry figures, Ontarians spend around $500 million each year on Internet gambling. Several of the most popular casino brands, such as Betwin, have reached operating agreements with iGaming Ontario. Other online operators, such as PokerStars, have advertised their products to Ontario audiences. These operators, however, will not be permitted to operate in the province until further changes to the Criminal Code are made.
With the introduction of the iGaming system, the Ontario government is working to increase consumer confidence by ensuring that regulated online gambling sites are operated by private operators, while still providing an appropriate level of regulation. Currently, iGaming Ontario is collecting feedback from stakeholders and will make a draft commercial agreement available to interested parties.
The new iGaming marketplace is expected to launch in December 2021. Until then, iGaming Ontario will continue to be responsible for overseeing and regulating the online gaming market. Once the system is operational, the government will be able to issue licences and establish rules. Although the new system is expected to create more options for Ontarians, there are still questions about its legality.
Under current legislation, all land-based casinos in Ontario are required to hand over 55 per cent of their net gambling proceeds to the province. However, this percentage is lower than the government’s percentage of casino spending. Similarly, online gambling service providers must register with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the provincial regulatory body.
While the iGaming system is expected to be a win-win for consumers and providers, the plan could fail if courts find that the relationship between the government and private operators is insufficient. One question is whether the new system will allow online gaming providers to react quickly to changes in the law. A report by HLT Advisory Inc., titled Ontario Gaming Market Assessment, estimates that there is a $7 billion gambling market in the province. If it expands as projected, the provincial government estimates that it will have a significant share of the total casino market in Ontario.
While the Quebec government is currently considering the legalization of online gambling, it is not completely clear how the province would regulate online gambling sites. It may also consider imposing deposit limits, regulating the type of games available and even requiring self-exclusion. These measures could help protect vulnerable people. And it could also help boost tax revenues.
The online gambling industry in Canada has been steadily increasing in recent years. The industry is dominated by Loto-Quebec, the only legal gambling operator in the province. In the first quarter of this year, Loto-Quebec reported a net income of $446.5 million. This includes net earnings from lottery and casino operations. Also included are sales from its online sports betting site.
Online gambling in the province could be a boon to the Loto-Quebec and the broader gambling industry. If online gambling is legalized in the province, it could be a way to supplement the income from brick and mortar casinos. Moreover, it could help curb problem gambling and increase revenue for the provincial government.
Currently, the province does not have a dedicated regulatory body for the online gambling market. Instead, its Gambling Act permits provincial governments to step in when necessary to regulate gambling websites. Typically, these entities are referred to as Lottery Corporations. Each province has its own monopoly on gaming, but some provincial governments do step in on occasion.
As of the first quarter of 2019, the total revenue in the casino and gaming hall sector had increased by 242%. While this is a positive sign, it does not seem to be generating a huge amount of money for the province. Nonetheless, a new report by British gaming consultancy VIXIO GamblingCompliance estimates that the value of gaming activity conducted by licensed operators in Ontario will double by 2026.
A coalition of five provincial lottery corporations recently formed to fight against illegal gambling. These corporations include Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp., the Atlantic Lottery Corp., and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. They call on Ottawa and other law enforcement agencies to act. But the federal government does not believe that illegal gambling is a threat to Canadians. Although individual provinces can do little to combat offshore gaming, it is a fact that many residents of the country play at foreign-based websites.
Loto-Quebec’s first quarter financials show that its online casino business is profitable. Revenue from lottery sales, as well as profits from its brick and mortar casino operations, contributed to a net income of $828.1%. However, the corporation’s product is not always up to par with what is offered by commercial gambling websites.
Despite its relatively modest success, Loto-Quebec is in a tough position. The province’s finances have been precarious in recent years. Consequently, it has been looking for ways to generate new sources of revenue. Among other things, it could establish regulations that would require self-exclusion and effective responsible gambling tools. Or it could increase taxes on those who can afford it.
The province of Saskatchewan is home to over a million people. Its gambling laws are a little bit different from those in other Canadian jurisdictions. Though the provincial government hasn’t passed any specific laws governing online gambling, it does allow wagering on sports and casino games. But it does have restrictions, such as only allowing pari-mutuel horse racing betting.
A number of provinces, including British Columbia and Ontario, have legalized online gambling. However, the only province in Canada without a government-run online casino is Saskatchewan.
There are a number of land-based casinos in Saskatchewan, and some of them accept gamblers who are at least 19 years old. These facilities have a variety of gaming options, from slot machines to blackjack and roulette. Some casinos have bingo halls as well.
The province’s newest gambling initiative is an online casino. According to the government, it will launch in 2022. The site will be regulated and will offer measures to ensure the safety and privacy of players. The website will also promote responsible gambling behaviors.
The province has also entered a multi-jurisdictional compact for online poker. The deal is expected to help First Nations communities in the province by providing additional revenue opportunities. This new online casino site will also be a safe and secure platform for users.
The provincial government has also formed a partnership with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. The new partnership will allow the two parties to establish an online gambling website in Saskatchewan. FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron has said the deal is the first of its kind in the country. He noted that the site will be a good opportunity for the tribes of Saskatchewan to develop strong community relations and to benefit from various projects.
The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority has been appointed to operate the new gambling site. All proceeds will be divided 50/50 between the province and the FSIN. SIGA will operate a custom skin for the PlayNow online casino site for the Saskatchewan market. And the provincial government is planning to use the money to fund priority projects in the province.
While gambling is legal in Saskatchewan, the province has some restrictions on the type of games you can play. For example, the only sports bets you can make in the province are parlay bets. You also cannot gamble professionally.
Sports betting will be available in Saskatchewan through Sport Select, a program developed by the Saskatchewan Lottery. The platform offers a range of games, including pools, props, ProLine over/under, and more. Currently, the daily limit for sports bets is $250.
Online poker is expected to be available in Saskatchewan in December. As with online casinos, it will be regulated and run by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. That’s the same agency that manages seven of the province’s tribal casinos. One of the sites is the Golden Eagle Casino, which has a wide selection of video slots and table games. Another casino is Casino Regina, which has No Limit Texas Hold’em and Omaha cash games.