ontario online gamblingOntario has decided to loosen its restrictions on lotteries and online gambling in an attempt to boost a struggling economy and grab a small piece of the industry.

By the end of 2012, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) is set to allow residents to purchase lottery tickets via the internet while also playing a variety of games.

According to Tony Bitonti, OLG spokesman, online gambling is worth roughly $500 million in Ontario alone. However, all of this money currently goes to offshore operations. By legalizing online gambling, Ontario will be able to cash in on the growing number of people who are interested in playing the lottery and gambling via the internet.

Since Ontario has limited experience in this industry, the OLG has sent out bid requests for help setting up and managing online games including video slots and video poker as well as the sales of lottery tickets.

Three firms submitted proposals before the February 3, 2012 deadline: Amaya Gaming, GTECH G2, and OpenBet.

As of late, the province has been focusing on issues that have plagued European countries as well as British Columbia. In 2012, B.C. launched its first online casino, PlayNow.com, but was forced to reorganize the entire operation shortly thereafter.

Every year, land based casinos in Ontario bring in approximately $3.3 billion. This is in addition to proceeds generated by lotteries and bingo.

Officials who are currently close to the situation have estimated that Ontario will generate more than $100 million per year from online gambling within five years of getting started.

With Ontario paving the way for the future, it is safe to say that the rest of Canada is keeping a close watch on how things play out. Will this province run into the same issues as British Columbia? Will other Canadian provinces follow closely behind?

Share your thoughts on online gambling in Ontario in our Online Gambling Newswire forum.

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