Canadian Online Gambling Laws Slipping Into the Legal Grey Zone

Published Sunday, March 04, 2012 -

Canada is a legal environment that seems to ignore Federal laws that prohibit online gambling except for the provincial governments who are able to determine for themselves if they want to offer the activity to their inhabitants. Some provincial governments  are offering online gambling  and are finding the revenue source lucrative with less expense than the land based casino business. There are an estimated 2,000 offshore gambling sites accessible to internet users in the country, none of which pays taxes or deals with licensing. Quebec’s Mohawk First Nations Kahnawake reserve hosts the largest regulator and licensing authority in the world.

Experts maintain that the law is not clear and the opinion on the validity of current laws is divided over whether  offshore operators are breaking Canadian laws. A law professor emeritus at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario Stanley Sadinsky, says, “For police authorities, it’s not their top priority,” Sadinsky added, “They have much bigger fish to fry,”
Industry estimates, indicate Canadians punters are spending as much as $4 billion annually at offshore gambling sites. Paul Burns, Vice-president of the Canadian Gaming Association revealed, “There hasn’t been a huge public outcry,” Burns continued, “There’s a high level of acceptance of offshore operators in Canada.”

Canada’s grey legal zone has become a nightmare for the police who aren’t really interested in pursuing the consumer or the operators that are according to some lawyers breaking Canadian laws. It would make sense as the provinces begin to offer online gambling they may feel the competition is a compelling enough reason to ask for enforcement of the Federal laws regarding internet wagering in Canada. British Columbia, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces are providing a certain amount of legal online gambling with Ontario coming online soon.  Sadinsky mentioned, “When economic interests begin to come into play, maybe that will be the greater incentive to deal with the offshore sites,” “Dollars may drive the decision in the end,” he concluded.


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