Canada and the Future of Online Gambling
by Glenn Baird - November 11, 2020
The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) recently expressed their admiration for the work being done with regards to online gambling in Ontario, leading many within the industry to question what the future of online gambling could look like in Canada.
The praise comes after Ontarian officials looked to plug the hole in the gambling market that had be caused by the Covid19 pandemic.
The solution that Ontario came up with was to offer its population access to online gambling through an official government website that includes lottery games, along with video slots and casino games. Additionally, there has been a push to see some changes made to the legislation of sports betting, which as things stands prevents Ontarians from betting on single sporting event in an attempt to eradicate opportunities for match fixing.
These are significant steps for the Canadian province to take on the march towards fully legislated online gambling, but it is important to note that they are not quite there yet.
Increased revenue, through taxation, increased employment opportunities and keeping Canadian gamblers safe from the lure of operators that are not based in Canada are just 3 reasons that you will hear bandied about those looking to have online gambling fully legalised in the country. Add to this the economic impact of this global pandemic and the very feasible threat of it all happening again and you have yet another reason for wanting to move the industry online.
A legitimate online gambling industry would ensure that all Canadians are treated in the same way and it would make their money safer, as standards for regulation should ensure customer safety and satisfaction.
On the 5th of November this year The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)was given more authority, more powers over gambling legislation. In fact, the Conduct and Manage Authority for iGaming will be handed over to the AGCO from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. This means that an organisation who reports directly to the government will make legislative decisions about online gambling, opposed it being entirely the government itself.
In 2019 the Ontario Provincial Budget saw the government state that they planned to give private operators the chance to offer online gambling services in the future, a huge step away from the current system that only allows state run gambling to be conducted online.
Whilst the state run sites will inevitably bring revenue in the closure of land based casinos during the pandemic has seen this financial stream dry up significantly. By freeing up the market for private operators is ahs been estimated that up to CA$547 million could be generated within five years.
It is unlikely that we will see online gambling legalised across Canada any time soon. But what we should see is he experiment being undertaken in Ontario first. It may take years, but Ontario proves a success then who knows how long it might be before the rest of the country follows in their footsteps.