Canadian Government Getting Handle on Online Gambling

The online gambling regulatory situation in Canada continues to be much more sophisticated than it is immediately south of the border, in the United States.

The new media fascination with online gambling in the U.S. — which surged last year and now, with New Jersey’s new online gambling laws almost approved, has reached even greater heights — is nothing new to Canadians.

Online gambling has long been a big topic in Canada, where regulated online gambling was officially launched last year in British Columbia — amid much arguing, and a fair amount of technical glitches.

More Provinces Offer Regulated Gambling — or Strongly Consider Doing So
In Ontario, government officials have admitted the importance of gambling to their revenues. “There is no doubt about it, we have come to rely on gambling revenues,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty in 2005, per the Ontario Star.

So, lawmakers there have few qualms about moving into online gambling. Ontario is set to launch a new online gambling system in 2012; it’s expected to rake in about $400 million in revenue per year.

A new system in Quebec has also just been launched, and it’s expected to bring in about $50 million a year.

New Scotia has also flirted with the idea, but it looks like neighboring province New Brunswick could beat it to the punch.

“The Atlantic Lottery Corp. has been instructed to conduct preliminary research into the feasibility of an Internet gambling site for New Brunswick,” reports the Vancouver Sun.

Console-Based Gaming
But the biggest of these businesses might even turn out to be Virgin Games’ newly announced, console-based online gambling system, which lets Canadian residents bet on EA video games like Madden NFL 11 and FIFA 11 — even games like Halo games.

“This is the biggest deal that we’ve had,” said William Levy, president of Virgin Gaming, per the Vancouver Sun.

Nationally, the Canadian online gambling market is estimated to be about a billion dollars a year.