Canadian body wants illegal gambling sites to go
A new coalition of provincial regulators in Canada has had enough of allowing illegal gambling websites to benefit from lax gambling laws which have allowed them to operate without consequence in their backyard. Now, the organization, which consists of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Loto-Québec, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis, and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, is calling for an end to what it sees as a damaging practice.
The Provincial Lottery Corporations, as this organization of local regulatory champions is referred to for short, is looking into ways to restrict the clout of illegal gambling websites that do not meet licensing regimes nor pay tax, and continue target customers pretty much anywhere in Canada. The Provincial Lottery Corporations take multiple issues with this status quo.
For starters, these illegal operators are stealing traffic from regulated markets – often putting forward hefty promotions that consumers gob up. Then, there is the problem with making regulated and unregulated gambling harder to tell apart. This has been a serious issue in the United States already and as Canada is preparing to spin the gears on its own iGaming and sports betting legalization, there are sufficient reasons for concerns among industry leaders that this could negatively impact the long-term sustainability of the industry.
Atlantic Lottery Corporation President and CEO Patrick Daigle is among those to oppose illegal gambling sites vehemently. He stressed that players are already confused about which websites are legal in the province, and which aren’t, and cited the financial concerns as well.
"This is a significant amount of money that could be staying right here in our region to fund public services, but instead continues to be taken away from helping our communities to the sole benefit of illegal operators," Daigle added.
However, the Provincial Lottery Corporations also believe to be reflecting not just a business concern but also consumer worry. In the official press release, the Corporations outlined an action plan that could help them overcome the issue and guide the industry safely on the other shore. There are a number of solutions and measures to enact in order to strike down illegal gambling sites or in the very least – limit their reach in Canada.
This is the first significant call to change the otherwise lenient rules on offshore gambling in Canada. Whether they succeed will depend on how willing politicians are to take up the rallying call and act. In the meantime, though, the Canadian gambling market is estimated to be worth (online) $3.8bn. It’s going to be nearly double that amount by 2026.