The online gambling industry has been growing ever larger since the first internet casino was launched more than two decades ago. People from all over the world, including Canada, have been accessing these websites at an accelerating pace ever since. According to experts, regulated online gambling is projected to expand further across the country, and at a more rapid and successful rate than their American neighbors the south.
According to recent reports, there are currently 85 nations worldwide who’ve chosen to legalize and regulate online gambling in some form. Up until 2009, online casino and poker games were a proscribed activity in Canada, but the laws were written in such a manner that only the operation of an internet gambling site within a province’s borders was restricted. Canucks were still able to log on to any offshore gaming website and bet to their hearts content.
The laws of Canada now state that each province has the right to legalize and regulated online gambling. To date, several provinces have chosen to do so. They include the provinces of Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia), British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake also regulates offshore gambling websites under the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
Regulated Online Gambling in Canada
Atlantic Canada was the first to incorporate a state-regulated online gambling market viaALC.ca, launched in August of 2004. However, the range of betting opportunities is restricted to online lottery, bingo, limited sports betting and a Pick’n’ Click games.
British Columbia became the first Canadian province to regulate online casino style games with the launch of PlayNow.com in July of 2010. Quebec followed soon after in December 2010 by launching EspaceJeux.com as the first truly legal online poker site in Canada, incorporating online casino and lottery games as well.
Ontario was the most recent province to jump aboard the Canadian online gambling regulatory band wagon with the launch of PlayOLG.ca in January 2015. PlayOLG offers legal-aged Ontarians the ability to play online casino and lottery games, but no poker, bingo or sports betting opportunities.
A report by the PwC entitled Global Gaming Outlook suggested that Canada’s online gambling market will reach new heights this year. “Revenues will reach $6.2 billion in 2015 from $5.7 billion in 2010, a 1.8 percent compound annual increase”, predicted PwC.
Online Gambling Expansion: Canada vs USA
It was projected that Canada will remain ahead of the United States in terms of the progression of online gambling regulation. The amount of revenue generated in the last decade by regions where online gambling is facilitated by the provincial government has been indubitably impressive; a factor that is expected to spur continued movement towards regulatory approval throughout more provinces in the near future.
In the US, only three of fifty states have moved to regulate online gambling; Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. Since those states launched their respective iGaming markets in 2013, revenue generation has been underwhelming, and well below the projected figures of state officials and industry analysts. As such, there hasn’t been much incentive for other states to push for authorization of online gambling.
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