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Another Canadian Province to Legalize Online Gambling?

April 28, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – In Canada, the movement to fully legalize and regulate online gambling province-by-province rivals the drive to do the same thing state-by-state in the U.S.

Now, some government figures in Manitoba say the province “will decide over the next few months whether to wade into the multi-billion-dollar global business of Internet gambling,” announced the Ottawa Citizen.

“We’re looking at it. No decision has been made yet, but I anticipate a decision sometime over the next few months,” Steve Ashton, the minister responsible for lotteries, was quoted in the article.

Unlike the United States, where the markets are planned on being opened for private gambling companies, in Canada the governments generally take control of all forms of gambling when legalized. British Columbia and some provinces in the more-populous Atlantic seaboard have already done so, and Quebec is in the stages of finalizing its own plan.

But, like in the U.S. state of California, in Manitoba’s quest to legalize online gambling, local tribes that are heavily involved in land-based gambling will likely take part.

“AMC (Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs) Grand Chief Ron Evans said the provincial government, which last week confirmed it is considering entering the online gambling business, has not yet approached the AMC with any offers to become involved in any Internet-based gaming plans,” writes Paul Turenne in the Winnipeg Sun. “However, Evans said the government’s public musings on the subject last week have prompted the chiefs to start discussing it.”

“I think we’d be open to learning more about it to see what our position is once we have that information,” Evans was quoted in the Sun article. “Obviously it’s happening and it’s not being regulated. I think it would be good for us to know what impact it’s having on the existing casinos and gaming operations.”

“There are an estimated 2,000 unregulated gambling sites on the Internet,” the Ottawa Citizen article concludes, emphasizing Evans’ point as well as restating the main selling point government advocates in Canada tend to put forth in their Internet gambling legalization push.