Canada Behind on Online Casino Scene
Recently, the US Supreme Court gave an order that is paving the way for the legalisation of sports betting in the country, which has left many observers keeping an eye on Canada’s online casinos and gaming scene. However, indications so far suggest that Canada’s arena is going in the opposite direction. Last year alone, Canada’s casino industry created a staggering income of $17,3 billion and it is expected to be even higher this year.
Canada and Online Casinos
At the moment, legislation dictates that it is legal to play at online casinos in Canada, provided the casino operator or poker site is not based in the country. Provincial casinos, of course, have been finding this difficult to deal with.
Lawmakers are concerned with this, since online gaming can result in revenue loss for the state. Back in 2016, Bill 74 was passed by the Quebec legislature which included, amongst other things, a provision to force Internet Service Providers to block all foreign online casino operators.
Quebec’s provincial gaming body, Loto-Quebec, operates an online casino called EspaceJeux.com. To play, you must live in Quebec. The casino’s profits go straight to provincial government, too. Up until Bill 74 came into effect, Loto-Quebec reported that it was taking too much of a cut, which meant that their Return to Player was lower than their international competitor’s. The brand was unable to grow fast enough to be sustainable as players had easy options to play online with better chances of winning.
Since the Bill was passed, the online casino has increased its Return to Player and is, as a result, not meeting its profit goals as margins are tightened. International competition is fierce, and the bigger online casinos have massive revenues, enabling them to offer hugely enticing welcome bonuses and RTPs.
Quebec’s solution was to introduce Bill 74, eliminating competition by blocking international operators.
How Does Bill 74 Work?
In terms of the legislation, Loto-Quebec must provide a list of some 2,000 online casino websites that the provinces’ Internet Service Providers should block. They are also compelled to offer a tender to foreign operators to partner with EspaceJeux where players will be directed to these casinos, yet Loto-Quebec will retain all customer information as well as a cut of revenue.
The law has given an ample amount of time to set up the necessary framework to accomplish all of this. Other online casinos, meanwhile, will be blocked in the province.
What Happens If It All Goes to Plan?
Should there be a ruling in favour of the Bill, it is set to be the first case that would allow Canada’s provincial governments to restrict what residents can view online. The immediate result, of course, would be that residents in Quebec wouldn’t be able to play at international online casinos.
There’s no denying that the implications are far-reaching, and it opens the door for similar laws to prohibit other facets of what should be a free internet, as well for other provinces to follow suit.
Sadly, it could see Canada go from a popular online casino market to a highly restrictive one. We just hope the powers-that-be have been following the success of new legislation in Sweden and that you will get to continue enjoying your online blackjack, slots and other games.