Online Gambling Steady Growth
TORONTO – Lifestyle – Online gambling has enjoyed a steady rise in Canada, though not always with the explicit help of the Canadian government. When online gambling sites began arriving on the scene in the 1990s, Canada quickly became a prized market, and neither the federal government nor provincial governments did much to stand in the way. While Canada made it illegal for Canadians to run and operate online gambling sites in Canada, they allowed Canadians to play and enjoy real money online gambling games such as Blackjack at foreign sites without any restrictions.
This situation worked fine for Canadians, but as the industry grew, it became clear that the country was losing out on a lot of potential revenue by allowing all of the online gambling to be done through overseas sites. This caught the eyes of many officials at the provincial level, which led to Canadian provinces beginning to question whether they should offer online gambling themselves.
The first province to answer “yes” to that question proved to be British Columbia. Through the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, the province set up PlayNow.com in 2010, which became Canada’s first fully regulated online gambling website. The site included not only the chance to buy state lottery tickets online, but also casino games, sports betting, poker, and bingo games.
British Columbia’s position as the only province to regulate online gambling wouldn’t last long, however. Later that year, Quebec joined them, setting up a site through Loto Quebec that offered a variety of table games, sports betting, and poker. In 2013, Playnow Manitoba was also launched, using the same structure as the British Columbia online gambling site. While each of the three provinces collects revenues separately and maintains their own offerings, they do share their player pools for poker, ensuring more running games, larger prize pools for tournaments and a better overall poker ecology.
The rise of online gambling won’t stop with just those three provinces, however. Ontario is expected to regulate online gambling in 2013, which will mean that the majority of Canadians will have access to internet gaming sites with local regulation. It is unknown whether Ontario plans to offer an online poker site that will tie in with the network that is currently serving the other three provinces with online gambling.
However, they have confirmed that Ontario residents will be able to purchase lottery tickets and play “casino-style” games by the end of 2013, with sports betting, poker, and bingo coming along in later phases.
Not every province has taken to online gambling quite as well, however. Several smaller provinces have either publically stated that they have no interest in online gambling regulation or have seen such efforts stall. These include the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.
Still, regardless of whether or not a particular province has chosen to fully embrace online gambling, Canadians enjoy a wide range of options when it comes to playing their favorite casino games online. Almost all online gambling sites happily accept Canadian players, and Canadians can access these sites regardless of where they live, including in provinces that have their own government-operated sites.