Ontario And Quebec In Online Gambling Talks

As Ontario prepares to launch, discussions on how to combat unlicensed competition

With the launch of its own provincially licensed and regulated online gambling enterprise imminent, Canada's Ontario province has revealed that it has been in talks with the province of Quebec regarding matters of mutual internet gambling interest.

The Sun newspaper reports that the discussions have included measures to keep out unlicensed operators by providing safe alternatives controlled by the provinces, quoting Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp and its Quebec equivalent, Loto Quebec have been appointed to control online gambling in their respective provinces and clearly have areas where a positive synergy can be achieved.

Speaking for Ontario, Minister Sousa observed Tuesday:

"We're looking closely at what they're doing, but I'm nowhere near determining how we would actually enforce that. I'm interested. I'm having a joint cabinet meeting with the ministers of Quebec in the coming days, and I look forward to seeing how they're going to proceed."

The newspaper reports that among the solutions Quebec is considering is whether to license private gaming sites, allowing them to operate legally in the province under tight regulations while clamping down on unlicensed operators through energetic enforcement.

It has been estimated that Ontario residents spend about $400 million-$500 million on online gaming annually, with proceeds flowing offshore to foreign operators.

The OLG is currently testing its online gaming site with loyal customers and plans to make the gambling option available soon to the general public (see previous InfoPowa reports). The provincial government expects to raise about C$350 million over five years through licensing fees and tax revenues from the initiative.

InfoPowa readers will recall that following an independent report Loto Quebec recently recommended that reputable international internet gambling operators be allowed into the provincial market subject to strict regulation as a means to curtail the activities of unlicensed operators.

Loto Quebec's latest half-year numbers released last week show that the province's Espace-Jeux internet gambling enterprise reported revenues up year-on-year by C$1.7 million at C$13.6 million.

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa

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