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Online Gambling Industry In Canada Prepares for Regulation

For gamblers in there is a wide choice when it comes to playing at Canadian online casinos. There are both sites run by the governments of the Provinces, like British Columbia’s PlayNow.com, and a massive list of offshore casinos with their bases in European markets and who take advantage of Canada’s grey-market set-up.

This mixed market has grown up because of the peculiarities of Canada’s gambling laws. Whilst the government-run operations are the only ones that can be licensed within the country, there are no laws to stop private firms outside its borders from taking bets from Canadian customers.

Which is what they have been doing for decades.

Big global brands with licensing from Malta and Gibraltar, like 888, Betway and Casumo, are popular in Canada, as are brands licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, like Grand Mondial and Zodiac Casino.

For years the federal government has been talking about creating a properly regulated market, and now it seems that finally momentum is building. Driven partly by the need to raise tax funds after the ravages of the pandemic, and also in response to the success of the US as it builds its own licensed gambling market, Canada has taken steps to legalise sports betting and allow private betting firms to enter the market with their gaming revenues taxed.

This is what we know so far.

Single Event Sports Betting To Be Legalised

Before we come onto casino play its worth mentioning that Canada is on the road to making gambling on the outcome of sports and other events a legal activity. Until now the Criminal Code of Canada made betting in any form other than accumulators illegal. To get around this, punters would have to place their bets with offshore bookmakers.

Then back in February, Private Members Bill C-18 passed a second reading in the Commons. If the bill passes a second reading and the Senate vote it will become law, allowing the state-licensed gambling operators to expand their product portfolios to include gambling on hundreds of live markets daily.

At the time In response to the progress of the bill through the Commons, and illustrating the support within the industry for this, The Director of eGaming at British Columbia’s PlayNow, Stewart Groumoutis, said, “We’re calling on all Members of Parliament to work together collaboratively to legalize single-event betting for the benefit of our players and provinces. Our players want single-event sports betting, and we are ready to provide this enhanced offering to them in a safe and responsible manner while also generating additional revenue for the Province of BC.”

Ontario Moving Towards Licensing Private Gambling Operators

Legalisation of single event sports betting is just one step on the road to a fully regulated gambling market.

Back in November last year, Ontario announced its own plans to open up the casino sector to private companies alongside its own Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).

The Ontario Government will pass legislation that will hand control of regulation to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) who would be responsible for issuing licenses and up-holding standards that protect consumers and prevent gambling operations from being used for criminal purposes.

It is estimated that around $500 million per year could be generated by a regulated market in Ontario alone and it is likely that the other Provincial governments of Canada will follow in their footsteps.

The journey towards online gambling regulation in Canada may take some time, but it seems that it has begun at last. For Canadian online gamblers that is great news – they can look forward to a future in which they can bet safely and securely with licensed operators whose revenues are contributing to the coffers of the government of the country in which they are based.

Keep watching this space for more news.