Canada is a big market for online gambling. The rules and regulations are easy to follow because the government’s laws are flexible in most provinces. This paves the way for offshore gambling sites to operate and money to leave our borders.
So far, Ontario is the only province to regulate the online gambling market and grant licenses to overseas gambling sites. This allows them better control of gambling activities and revenue to benefit the people of Ontario. As these regulations have succeeded over the last year, the question is when more provinces will follow, including Nova Scotia.
A $457 Revenue in Q3
In April 2022, Ontario became the first province to regulate online gambling and legalize a previous grey market. Even though it has only been in place for a year, the revenue was present from day one. Between their release and June 30, they had total revenue of $162 million. Their latest market report reveals a total revenue of $457 million in Q3 (October 1 – December 31, 2022), which is a 71% increase from Q2.
A total of $11.53 billion was wagered in the period across 68 casino sites controlled by 36 operators. They had 910.000 active players, which is a 45% increase over the previous period. These numbers are truly impressive, and the question is whether this will pave the way for other provinces to follow.
Is it Worth it?
Even though the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regulations can be called a success, with impressive numbers backing them up, there is one thing to keep in mind: Nearly 40% of the Canadian population lives in the province.
Regulating the offshore gambling market on a provincial level might not be the best option for the rest of Canada, as it simply won’t be worth the trouble. Ontario has a population of over 15 million, while Nova Scotia has roughly 1 million. It is a big difference, and the cost alone of regulating the market will likely make it futile.
Banning or having a badly regulated market might push players to less safe gambling sites. Most offshore gambling sites in the Canadian market have taken important steps towards responsible gambling and higher safety for the players. Some of these steps include:
All players are required to go through the Know Your Customer (KYC) process before withdrawing funds from an online casino to prevent fraud, money laundering, and other illicit activities. The KYC process is a regulatory requirement for online casinos to ensure that they adhere to anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) laws.
By verifying the identity, age, and residence of the player, online casinos can confirm that the person withdrawing funds is a legitimate account holder and ensure that they are not using the platform for illegal purposes. You can learn more about the concept of no-verification withdrawal casino sites on this website to understand why ID checks are an essential step.
The KYC process also helps protect the casino and its customers from identity theft, underage gambling, and other potential risks associated with online gaming.
Gambling sites promote safe gambling by implementing various responsible gambling policies and measures designed to protect players and ensure a secure and enjoyable gaming experience. Some of these measures include:
- Self-exclusion options: Allowing players to voluntarily exclude themselves from the platform for a specified period or indefinitely if they feel their gambling behaviour is becoming problematic.
- Deposit and wager limits: Enabling players to set their own daily, weekly, or monthly deposit and wager limits, helping them manage their gambling budget and prevent overspending.
- Time reminders: Offering customizable session time reminders to help players keep track of the time they spend gambling.
- Cooling-off periods: Providing options for players to take short breaks from gambling to reassess their behaviour and regain control.
- Resources and support: Offering information on responsible gambling and access to support organizations and helplines for players who may be experiencing gambling-related problems.
- Staff training: Training customer support and other casino staff to identify and assist players who may show signs of problem gambling.
By implementing these responsible gambling measures, gambling sites create a safe environment for players and minimize the risks associated with problem gambling.
Gambling Regulations in Canada
While it may seem like gambling licenses are only issued in Ontario, that’s not the case. Gambling is regulated at the provincial level in Canada, and each province has its own regulatory body and set of rules for granting licenses and overseeing gambling activities.
However, Ontario has the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which is the only one to regulate offshore gambling sites, which can operate legally in other provinces due to the lack of regulation.
Other provinces have their own licensing and regulatory bodies, such as:
- British Columbia – British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB)
- Alberta – Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC)
- Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA)
- Manitoba – Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA)
- Quebec – Loto-Québec and Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ)
- New Brunswick – Gaming, Liquor and Security Licensing Branch
- Nova Scotia – Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division (AGFTD) of Service Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island – Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission (PEILC) and Consumer Services Division
- Newfoundland and Labrador – Newfoundland and Labrador Lottery and Gaming Corporation (NLC) and Service NL
Each of these organizations is responsible for issuing gambling licenses and regulating gambling activities within their respective provinces. The rules and regulations for obtaining a gambling license can vary from one province to another, but the overall objective remains the same: to ensure that gambling activities are conducted in a fair, transparent, and socially responsible manner.