Canada’s provinces look for solutions to i-gaming woes

Thanks to Canada’s ‘Foreign Operators Principle,’ offshore operators are left to freely target Canadian consumers with online gambling products; meanwhile the Canadian provinces, many of which have launched their own forays into the online gambling world, have struggled somewhat with these offerings. In Quebec, the government has released a report, which inter alia calls for the issuance of licences to private operators, thus considerably altering the status quo. Cory R. Levi of Lazarus Charbonneau discusses the background to online gambling in Canada, the problems facing Canada’s provincial governments in their role as operators, and Quebec’s recent report.

The law in Canada, as it relates to online gambling, is somewhat grey. While there does not exist actual language that specifically governs the legality of online gaming websites, Canadian authorities have loosely interpreted the relevant language found in the Criminal Code of Canada to apply to them, and in this regard, the law is quite clear – only provincial governments can legally own and operate gaming houses, whether land based or online; this extends to poker, casino and/or sportsbooks alike.

So how can it be, therefore, that ‘offshore’ operators accept Canadian facing business without suffering any legal consequences, unlike several of them did a few years back in the United States?

Even though they are operating as a business, at the end of the day, they are still a government, and therefore must operate within the confines of their budgets, whereas offshore operators, being private entities, do not have these same limitations

BY CORY R. LEVI

 
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