Canadian Provincial Casinos - Pros & Cons
Gambling has been a popular past time in Canada for centuries. Despite a ban spanning almost 80 years, from the 1890s to the 1970s, this popularity has continued to stand the test of time.
Taking a relatively liberal stance on gambling since that ban was repealed, Canada has managed to keep up with the latest trends in the gambling industry - including the move to online and mobile casino gaming. Part of this relaxed stance has seen the central government decentralize online casino regulation to the individual provincial governments. This has led to some of the provinces opening their doors to trusted overseas operators - usually in possession of a highly robust European Gaming license - to allow their citizens to enjoy the thrills of online casino gaming. Other provinces, however, have recognized the benefits of having their very own provincial casinos. From taxation to local employment, as well as having greater control over-regulation, there are several pros to this outlook.
Among the provinces to have embraced the online casino space is Ontario. Players based within the jurisdiction of the Ontario provincial government are able to play at the authorized online casino site - PlayOLG.ca. This site is operated by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation, though there have been talks of the market being opened up to private companies.
Any company looking to access the Ontario market would still have to abide by the licensing requirements set out by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation, however, this should increase choice and the quality of products within the market - as well as providing additional revenue funds to the local government.
Similarly, the provincial government of Quebec is also looking to make some changes to how they deal with online casino regulation. Currently, the restrictions in Quebec are relatively loose, with companies from outside the province allowed to operate - so long as they have a recognized license from elsewhere. This means players in Quebec can choose from a number of competitors to the provincial casino, Espacejeux.
As with Ontario, the proposed changes in Quebec would see any operator within the provincial jurisdiction having to be licensed by Loto-Quebec. Whilst this may lead to a reduction in consumer choice, it is a change designed to increase local tax revenues and player protection.
The two other provincial governments to have launched state-run online casino sites, are British Columbia and Manitoba. These offer residents the opportunity to play at either the PlayNow online casino or PlayNow Manitoba. None of the other provinces or territories have their own licensed gambling products, though some players within Canada can still access offshore casinos with alternative licenses.
Pros & Cons
As you have probably deduced, there are a number of pros and cons to the provincial casinos model. The pros largely surround social benefits. First of all, having bespoke regulations written up by an individual province should ensure any regulations are relevant and sensibly applied. It also follows that having the local government-run the online casino entity will ensure the rules are followed accordingly. Outside of player welfare, state-run casinos can also provide employment opportunities for local residents.
Unfortunately there are also some cons to this system. Most obviously, having a state-owned and run online casino can have a big impact on competition and consumer choice. Reducing competition can ultimately result in sub-standard products dominating the market, as customers have no opportunity to defect to superior rivals. This being said, the proposed moves by the Ontario and Quebec provincial governments point toward a sensible middle ground. Allowing private operators to enter the market under local regulations should ensure players have a wide range of choice, without sacrificing the safety of the site they are playing at. For more great tips an recommendations, visit our home page.