A Quick Look on Canadian Online Gaming at the Beginning of 2016
A news report that appeared late last year on the CBC website talks about how Alberta, the province in the Western part of Canada, has seen its revenues decline last year due to the low oil prices. Still, Finance Minister Joe Ceci does not consider online gambling as an alternative source of revenue. The CBC cited Ceci saying that gambling is "not a policy issue that I’m fully briefed on, want to bring forward or consider bringing forward at this time". He said he knows Albertans are already gambling online, but doesn't consider the financial benefits of gambling could outweigh "the public risks".
It's an interesting stance on the matter, considering how other regions in Canada benefit from their own, local online gambling operations. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation has generated revenues worth more than CAD100 million in the fiscal year 2014-2015 through its online gambling portal PlayNow. Ontario's own iGaming venue, PlayOLG, has not completed its first year in the business, but the local government expects it to generate revenues worth more than CAD300 million. EspaceJeux, LotoQuebec's own online gambling portal, is also generating profit for the corporation. And what's more important - the gambling revenues stay inside the region, increasing its budget.
Albertans, it seems, are stuck with offshore gaming venues for the time being. That's not necessarily a bad thing - gaming here is the best in Canada... Offshore operators often have much more experience in the secrets of running an efficient casino than any lottery corporation in Canada. They rely on years, sometimes decades of experience gathered by specialists in the iGaming business. Some of the companies that siphon away players from Canadian state casinos are huge companies, present in most regulated markets of the world. Bet365, William Hill, 32Red and 888 are just a handful of brands that accept Canadian players, and each of these companies (mostly based in the United Kingdom) are recognized as not only respectable companies with a long history, but also very safe and fair places to play.
Canadian policymakers have long been delaying meaningful action to bring betting revenues back into the country. C-290, a bill that would allow placing wagers on single sporting events, has languished in the Senate for more than two years. Now it seems that it will return to the spotlight: New Democratic Party PM for Ontario Brian Masse has announced that he plans to reintroduce the bill. Currently the laws only allow regional lottery operators to offer sports betting services, and the only form of betting they can offer is parlay bets. The new bill would change the situation, allowing a more diversified gambling market to be born, to the benefit of Canadian punters and the regions' budgets alike.