Canada’s province of Ontario plans liberalization of online casinos
Published by Giselle
June 10, 2019 7:35 am
On Thursday, the government of the Canadian province of Ontario announced its 2019 budget plan to relax the previously strict rules surrounding gambling. This could soon legalize online casinos and sports betting and modernize access to national lotteries.
According to the will of the citizens
Canada has long been one of the most advanced countries in the world and is at the top of the emigration list for many. The southeastern province of Ontario with its dynamic capital Toronto is regarded as the economic engine of the country, which covers an area of almost 1 million square kilometers.
Gambling also has a firm place in the home of Niagara Falls: twelve casinos and extensive state lottery offers are available to the inhabitants and visitors of the province.
On a legal level, however, gambling in Canada has not been regulated since the 1980s. In theory, the legal articles are written at the time punish any form of gambling outside the official casinos. Of course, online casino games were not considered in the formulation of the laws at that time.
In practice, therefore, the laws do not apply today, which is why Canadians have been playing online for years without fear of a penalty at the numerous international gambling providers. According to the Ontario government, the citizens of this province alone spend 500 million Canadian dollars a year on online gambling.
Although online gamblers are not threatened with punishment, the current legal uncertainty has its disadvantages. Without an official regulatory authority, neither player protection and fairness can be guaranteed by the providers, nor can players obtain legal assistance in disputes.
Instead of completely banning online gambling, as is the case in other countries, the Ontario government is now drawing other consequences. Since it is clear that the citizens of the province want online gambling, they should be directed to a well-regulated market in the future.
The budget plan literally says so:
“The province is planning to create a competitive market for legal online gambling that will both reflect the preferences of customers and protect players on online gambling websites. This will ensure that Ontario’s citizens have access to safe and legal online gambling options”.
In order to implement the plans as quickly and effectively as possible, the government wants to exchange views with experts and stakeholders in the industry. Implementation could even take place this year. The liberalization of sports betting and online casinos at all levels have long since received enough encouragement.
The lottery is also being reformed
As far as the Ontario Lottery is concerned, the monopoly is currently held by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). The plan is to achieve a greater mix of state (or provincial) lotteries and the private sector, which is expected to generate additional revenues of several billion.
The lotteries are intended to create new jobs, business opportunities and better access for provincial players to the products on offer.
Lottery tickets are to be purchased with fewer hurdles in the checkout area of various supermarkets and selected retailers. The number and quality of OLG Lotto terminals where players can make digital bets will also be increased.
Furthermore, tickets for official lottery games such as 6 out of 49 or Pro-Line will also be available via smartphone. These are then official OLG lottery tickets, not the often frowned upon lottery bets from competing private providers.
Ontario as a province of modern sins?
The liberalization of gambling is only one of the numerous goals of the 382-page Budget Plan 2019. Alcohol consumption was also closely linked to gambling, and in the future, the rules will also be relaxed.
Until now, for example, it was forbidden to provide free alcohol in casinos. Now the casinos are not only allowed to serve free drinks but also to advertise for themselves with exactly this tempting special feature.
Both in puncto gambling and consumption of alcohol the government Ontarios would like to set more on the sole responsibility of the consumers instead of patronizing these. One should treat adults like adults one said in the texts of the plan in several places.
While previously only selected points of sale were allowed to sell alcohol to adults, beers and wines are to be available in significantly more shops in the future.
In addition, the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places (e.g. parks and green areas) and the serving times in restaurants are extended.
Many Ontario residents have already reacted positively to the planned changes and welcome the new freedoms. Even more than the individual citizens, however, the province as a whole could benefit from the liberalization of gambling on an economic level.