The Canadian Gaming Controversy: Regulated Market And Not So Much

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

Having clear laws to regulate certain industries is vital for economies. This is a rule that some countries understand, and others fail – or choose not – to comprehend. If there is too much space for interpretation, and not enough enforcement, certain laws can leave enough loopholes for companies and people to make use of. Like in the case of online gambling in Canada.

The Grey Zone

The Canadian gambling laws seem pretty clear at first: only state-run gambling companies are allowed to offer real money gaming services in the country. With no way to license a business locally, gambling in any form – from scratch cards to land-based and online casinos – is a government monopoly. There is currently no way for an offshore gaming company to get a foothold on Canadian soil. However, nothing is stopping Canadian players from using online casinos like Royal Vegas Casino at for example.

The grass is greener on the other side

Online gambling is a tough, competitive market. There is a constant struggle going on for the players out there, and operators compete in game variety and benefits offered to attract more of them to their side. To stick with the above example: the Royal Vegas Casino welcomes its new players with an opening bonus worth $1,200. Local Canadian operators are no match for that.

Regulation is the solution

With no way to obtain a license in Canada, but no restrictions on accepting Canadian players, offshore casinos like the Royal Vegas casino can still offer their services to Canadians. And this hurts the viability of local, state-owned operators, as they fail to offer the same benefits and have no way to keep their players from sending their play money out of the country. A previous proposal of blocking access to offshore casinos at an ISP level was heavily criticized by the public, and ultimately dismissed. It wouldn’t have been a solution to this issue. A well thought-out set of laws, in turn, could offer both players and authorities a solution.

Romania is another country that has decided to block access to unlicensed offshore operators. But, instead of keeping the gambling industry a state monopoly, it has chosen to offer operators the chance to obtain a license. This way it can make sure that its citizens only play at regulated operators, and can keep part of the money they spend – and the taxes said money generates – inside the country.

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