Canadian Online Gaming: What Changes to Expect in 2017

Online gambling is a regulated industry. Or better said: it's regulated in most countries of Europe. The legal status of the business is still at least ambiguous in many countries, filled with loopholes and shortcuts. The US, once the biggest online casino and poker market of the world, struggles to even find the legal framework applicable to the business. Australia has a blanket ban in place on everything except sports betting, yet even its legislators agree that its regulation is outdated and should be changed. When it comes to the Canadian online casinos gambling laws , there's only one thing that's clear: some state lotteries are out to protect their monopoly on the market, while others won't even consider creating their own solution to their customers' needs. Can we expect a change of the gambling laws in 2017?

Desperate times

Canada has a large number of online casino enthusiasts. The popularity of this type of online entertainment shows if you look at the list of the most played mobile games in Canada: social casino apps like Slotomania, DoubleDown or Big Fish Casino are constantly among the top 50 (which is something, considering the large number of mobile games available for download). Before regional lotteries were given the green light to launch their own, local online gambling venues, Canadians flocked to legit - usually EU-licensed - offshore operators to play. Of course, the regions were not happy with taxpayer money leaving the country. Instead of taxing these offshore operators, they decided to ban them from promoting their services in the country, and chose to offer locals a locally owned (and taxed) alternative. Not all regions, though - only three lottery corporations have online gambling venues, and they can only be used by their respective regions' residents, leaving many locals with no state-approved way to play.

Desperate measures

Still, Canadians were not banned from visiting offshore casinos. This has put local operators in a pretty sensitive situation: they were (and most of them still are) unable to offer the same variety and accessibility than their offshore counterparts, so local players are still using them, and local money is still leaving the country.

Instead of attempting to compete with these offshore operators (except PlayOLG, which has a set of features and bonuses similar to those offered by the "outsiders"), the local authorities have tried to prevent players from accessing them. They attempted to push through a measure that would have blocked access to these websites at an ISP level, a measure frowned upon by society (which failed). Last year, a different set of punitive measures were considered, involving blacklisting operators and their stakeholders, yet these have also failed to become actual measures - at least for the time being.

What to expect?

The Canadian government has defied logic and the competitive nature of the business world for too long. Perhaps this year, after they realize that forcing locals to use imperfect alternatives is not the right solution, the Canadian market may open up for outsiders offering better quality and more varied entertainment options. This would make a good part of the locals happy - and that's also important, don't you think?


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