Could Ontario be Heading for Online Gambling?
by Glenn Baird - November 4, 2020
Lockdown measures in Ontario have meant that the only way residents have been able to participate in government endorsed gambling, like the lottery, has been to do so online.
This led politicians and those in the gambling industry to ask if the state was ready to invite private online gambling firms to establish a market and discussion will be had tomorrow on the matter.
With land-based gambling now redundant and likely to continue as such for the foreseeable future, such has been the impact of the global pandemic, the solution for many is to legalise online gambling.
The government endorsed gambling portal, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (ORG), is primarily for lottery players but also has a selection of casino based games that have proven popular as Ontarians find themselves without access to brick and mortar gambling establishments.
ORG even offers access to sports betting and the site has had a makeover, simplifying the interface as more users migrate over from land-based casinos.
To say that online gambling has proved popular would be an understatement, with many now asking if the province is ready to invite private companies into the online market.
It is estimated that half a billion Canadian Dollars were spent on online gambling in Ontario last year, with a sizable chunk of those profits heading offshore into the wallets of illegal gambling operators.
Discussions are set to take place tomorrow and whilst a decision might be made there is still an awful lot that will need to be considered, with new levels of regulation needed if private companies are given the green light.
Along with those regulations, a rate of tax will need to be established, which would inevitably see huge revenues for the province.
Although officials have yet to release any timeline details for any of the expected regulatory changes, Scott Blodgett, Senior Media Relations Advisor at Ontario Ministry of Finance, states that “over the coming months, the government will work to develop a new model for online legal gambling to help foster an exciting gambling experience”.