WIll Canada Offer Online Casino Gambling?
Licensed, regulated single-sports betting is soon to come to Canada. Bill C-218, known as The Safe And Regulated Sports Betting Act, was approved by the Senate of Canada on June 22. It received Royal Assent from the Governor-General’s office a week later.
That leaves just one step left to be taken until Canada will be able to offer full-on Las Vegas sports betting, just like the big casinos on the Strip all do. The ruling federal Liberal Party of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet must set a date for when the law will go into force, meaning that it has been enacted and Canada’s 10 provinces can begin to offer single-sports betting.
What about casino gambling? Will Canada enable the same sports betting sites to offer access to online casino gambling? The short answer is yes. The even shorter answer is that in some provinces, they already do just that.
“Canadian Senate” by TheCanadianGuide is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Canada Will Open Up To All Forms Of Gambling
While it was the desire for single-sports betting that drove the bus to change the Canadian wagering landscape, online casino gambling and poker also came along for the ride.
One of the keys that enabled Bill C-218 to move through the parliamentary process and become a law in a little over a year was the fact that Canadian government officials weren’t writing new law. The country’s lawmakers were simply amending current existing laws.
Canada has offered legal sports betting since the early 1990s through provincial lottery corporations. Called Pro-Line in some provinces, Sports Select in others and given even different handles elsewhere across the country, no matter what they opt to name it, the game was the same. Parlay wagering – a minimum of at least two bets combined on a single wager – was the only permissible type of betting enabled through this gaming system.
Adding Other Options
As gambling grew more popular and the advent of the internet introduced online betting into the mainstream, Canada’s provincial lottery corporations sought out methods to remain relevant and stay in the game. Expanding beyond sports betting was a solution.
In 2004, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation took its Sports Action retail game online. Eight years later it was reimagined as PlayNow.com. Beyond sports betting, PlayNow offers online slots, poker, baccarat, roulette and blackjack. There’s even a live casino with blackjack, baccarat, roulette and Texas Hold’em.
Alberta is another province that already provides players with an online casino option. Alberta Lottery Gaming and Cannabis, through its PlayAlberta.ca web site offers slots, blackjack and roulette. There’s also a live dealer option featuring blackjack, roulette, baccarat and Texas Hold’Em.
As Bill C-218 takes effect, major online betting sites such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and theScore Bet are lining up to access a piece of the burgeoning Canadian marketplace.
“Ontario” by Roberto Machado Noa/Shutterstock is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Ontario Thinking Big
With close to 15 million people, Ontario figures to be one of the most lucrative regulated betting markets in all of North America. Ontario in fact has a larger population than New Jersey, the state that has been setting single month betting revenue records in the USA since all forms of betting were legalized in the state in 2018.
The Ontario government wants to be the trendsetter as licenced and regulated online gambling takes hold across Canada. They hope to be up and operational before the end of 2021 and optimistically by Labor Day. Long before Bill C-218 received its status as a law, Ontario was already preparing for that day. The province published a discussion paper on how it viewed online gambling would be undertaken within the province.
Ontario sees the forms of iGaming that will be introduced by the passage into law of Bill C-218 to be items that will enhance the products that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) already is offering to adults residing within the province. Under this Ontario iGaming plan, well-established casino and table games such as online slots, blackjack and roulette would be permitted to be operated in the province. As well, peer-to-peer games such as online poker would also be part of the new plan.
There has been legal and regulated retail casino gambling offered in Ontario since 1993. The first land-based casino opened in Windsor, Ontario in 1994. Slot games, table games and poker rooms are all part of the Ontario retail casino experience.
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