After a decade of developing the idea of launching online casinos, the Canadian ALC (Atlantic Lottery Corporation) got its first launched project for New Brunswick residents. From August 2020, they have access to their catalog of slots and table games, with stakes considered too high for those who are not fond of the idea.
Now, the ALC has to face criticism and convince the majority of voters that the project should not only continue but expand to the other three provinces.
What is ALC’s Intention?
The ALC is responsible for regulating all forms of gambling in four provinces: Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Due to the closing of casinos and the increase in online gambling, it found the perfect timing to establish its own gambling websites.
However, the estimated annual loss of $100 million to offshore gambling websites does not seem to be enough motivation to avoid criticism. While there is no consensus about the already established New Brunswicker online casino, there is no certainty regarding the other two provinces.
The ALC also states that offshore online gambling websites are not truly safe for Canadian people. However, that impression seems to be an excuse connected to the previous motivation, as there are several online casinos open for Canadians that are duly licensed and regulated.
Why is There so Much Resistance?
According to the opposition to those projects, one of the major problems regarding online casinos is the possibility of an increase in addiction. After all, the people from Canada would not have to drive to a casino.
However, as previously mentioned, online casinos from offshore companies already accept and let Canadians deposit and play. The estimation of $100 million indicates that it is not few people playing with low stakes.
Another reason for the resistance is the fact that, in order to compete with offshore online casinos, New Brunswick’s project counts on high maximum slot bets, reaching from $40 to $100. Table games are also a major concern, with bets up to 200x VLTs’ maximum bets.
What is the Future of Online Casinos in Canada?
Apart from the project in the province of New Brunswick, other provinces already established websites of their own. Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario already count on their online casino websites.
Alberta has PlayAlberta, established and ruled by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis agency, and PlayNow is the name of the website partnership between Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
All those provinces continue to control licensing and hold the monopoly of licensed online gambling in Canada. If they do not match offshore casino websites’ conditions and game variety, the chances are they will continue to lose a large portion of gambling money. While addiction is a reality, prohibition does not and will probably continue not to work. The future and the best scenario for Canada would probably be to license offshore brands and let Canadians decide where to play in full legal compliance.