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BETA   •   SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22ND, 2019

Ontario Plans to Permit Online Gambling

May 8 Sandra Wong

Ontario Soon to be Open for Online Gambling Competition

The Ontario Conservative Government has announced plans to end its monopoly on online gambling. It currently only has one gambling site (PlayOLG.ca) operated by the province’s Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG). In addition to this momentous news, there is a good chance single sports betting will also finally be allowed.


Province Regulated Gambling

Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories. While the territories have no sovereignty with those powers provided to them by the federal government, the provinces have more freedom due to the Constitution Act, 1867. The ten provinces include:

  • Ontario

  • Quebec
  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Saskatchewan
  • Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Prince Edward Island

In other words and in relation to this story, the Canadian Federal Government allows each of its provinces to regulate their own land-based and online gaming environments. There are few private land-based casinos, let alone privately owned online casinos in Canada. While many may think this is a hindrance for online slots games players, it’s still legal for Canadians to play at offshore based casinos.

Having said this, one concern that the Canadian government has (apart from potential lost revenue) is the lack of safeguards to ensure responsible gambling . Even some of the most scrupulous offshore casinos have stepped up efforts to ensure players don’t overextend themselves, but it’s still a concern for the Canadian Tory party and Canadian Gaming Association.

Recent Tory Budget Talks Expanded

Compared to Quebec and British Columbia, the Ontario OLG owned casino, PlayOLG.ca (launched in 2015) still has some way to go in terms of growth. During the fiscal year 2017-2018, it reported revenue of a little shy of C$73.1m, which was still a 25.2% improvement over the previous year. By stark comparison, the British Columbia’s PlayNow online casino reported revenue of around C$180.6m during the same year. The other aspects of gambling entertainment which includes the lottery offered by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation meant that the total revenue was C$7.58b so it’s certainly not at a loss, but there is room for improvement which could be accelerated by competition.

  • Quebec
  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Saskatchewan
  • Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Prince Edward Island

In other words and in relation to this story, the Canadian Federal Government allows each of its provinces to regulate their own land-based and online gaming environments. There are few private land-based casinos, let alone privately owned online casinos in Canada. While many may think this is a hindrance for online slots games players, it’s still legal for Canadians to play at offshore based casinos.

Having said this, one concern that the Canadian government has (apart from potential lost revenue) is the lack of safeguards to ensure responsible gambling . Even some of the most scrupulous offshore casinos have stepped up efforts to ensure players don’t overextend themselves, but it’s still a concern for the Canadian Tory party and Canadian Gaming Association.

Recent Tory Budget Talks Expanded

Compared to Quebec and British Columbia, the Ontario OLG owned casino, PlayOLG.ca (launched in 2015) still has some way to go in terms of growth. During the fiscal year 2017-2018, it reported revenue of a little shy of C$73.1m, which was still a 25.2% improvement over the previous year. By stark comparison, the British Columbia’s PlayNow online casino reported revenue of around C$180.6m during the same year. The other aspects of gambling entertainment which includes the lottery offered by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation meant that the total revenue was C$7.58b so it’s certainly not at a loss, but there is room for improvement which could be accelerated by competition.

By allowing private online operators to apply for licenses and open online casinos in Ontario as part of the party’s forthcoming budget, this will no doubt do just that. However, it will do so while also bringing in revenue and offering a wider range of gaming choices for consumers. Additionally, as mentioned above, Paul Burns, President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association has stated that, “We have seen significant growth in the amount of wagering with offshore websites and we welcome the move to create a regulatory system for offshore sites to better protect consumers”. This is an important factor and one that will be all the more easier to implement for locally licensed establishments.

Using Online Casino Directories to Find Fair and Entertaining Games

For those who are concerned in the meantime about finding fair, safe and fun online casinos to play at, here is a list updated weekly of the best Casino sites for Canadian players. Players will find information on the latest bonuses as well as average payout percentages to help them pick the best site. Naturally, some of these include sports betting in addition to various online games.

Single Betting Options

Finance minister Vic Fedeli is also pushing to amend the somewhat prohibition era type single-event wagering criminal code, as has been discovered in a letter he wrote to federal finance minister Bill Morneau. As of now, those who want to place a bet on sports need to place a wager or ‘parlay’ on three or more games using OLG’s pro-line betting system. For bettors to win, all three bets on the games need to win. This type of betting is considered less risky as the bettor is able to wager less money for the chance to win more.

However, betting on the outcome of a single sporting event usually requires a larger outlay to see a sizeable return. As stated by Fedeli using the U.S. as an example, “in a typical year, more than 90 % of the sports dollars wagered in Nevada sportsbooks are on single event bets”. For fans of all the top sports, from the NHL to NFL, this is great news as it opens more options, including many more casinos with sportsbooks.

Consultation Under Way

A consultation on how best to move forward is underway and will include industry stakeholders, alongside the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA). This is good news as they are in strong support of the move to single betting, in addition to offering licensing to privately owned casinos. Their goal is also to make sure that consumers have a more entertaining gaming experience without putting themselves at unnecessary risk. It’s no secret that the CGA understands the importance of online gaming, not only for the contentment of citizens around the country, but for the economy and job market. In fact, around C$12.5b in wages alone can be linked to the gaming industry.

Many are excited by this news and are preparing for what the future may hold, not only for Ontario but for other provinces that may follow suit. It wasn’t long ago that Quebec had similar plans in mind, but so far these have failed to materialize. In any case, it’s recommended that casino players stay up to date, in addition to learning about various casino games that gambling sites are likely to bring to the table.

 

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