Ontario Considering Legislation to Allow Online Gambling
The Conservative government of Ontario has promised within its 2020 budget to introduce legislation to legalize online casino gaming.
In Canada, the legal landscape for gambling is vast. In some areas, there are online gaming options while others stick to land-based formats. Federal law in Canada places the regulation of gambling on provincial lotteries. Each province has the ability to decide what they would like to offer players. In Ontario, it looks as though the monopoly held by the province lottery could be abolished as the 2020 budget states legislation will be introduced to legalize online casino games.
What’s On the Table?
In Ontario, the government body behind gambling is the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). The province allows for lottery tickets to be sold and offers casino gaming via several land-based facilities. The OLG also has an online casino site.
In the past, efforts have been made to push for additional online gambling, but those efforts failed. Doug Ford and is conservative party tried to add online gambling to its 2019 budget and looked to legalize it in the private sector. However, the federal government pushed for changes to the legislation.
In 2020, the effort seems to promise actual action on the matter. The government effort states that the Province is introducing legislation that will put the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as the authority to operate and manage the new industry. They will also act as the regulator of the industry.
If the legislation is passed, the Commission would have a dedicated subsidiary under them to manage the relationships between the private online gaming operators and the government.
Helping the Economy
The legislation has not been introduced as of yet and is expected in the future. Because of this, there are no specifics to review. It is expected that Ford and his administration may look to take a similar approach as the US has done in such states as Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
For the 2020 budget, it focuses heavily on the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused many businesses to close up or have limited operations, which means less revenues flowing through provinces in the country. Online gambling has been introduced in the budget as a way to provide recovery to the local economy.
It is listed in the Modernizing Government subsection of the budget, under Recover: Creating the Conditions for Growth. Analysts expect that the industry would generate millions in revenues within the new market. Vixio Gambling Compliance analyst James Kilby reported that online gambling without single-game sports betting could generate as much as $547 million.
Revenues would come from taxes and Canadian Gaming Association rep Danielle Bush has said that the tax rate is expected to be listed at 18 to 20 percent.
Hurting the Canadian Gambling Industry
The call for online gambling comes at a time when the casinos in Canada are struggling. Canada has been cautious with its plans to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. Casinos closed down early in the year and did not open back up until the end of September. This was months longer than the casino closures in the US, as they started reopening in May and June.
With online gambling in play, the lost revenues within the land-based sector could move online. While we hope another pandemic does not occur anytime soon, it appears as though we will be dealing with COVID for quite some time. If Ontario is able to legalize online gambling, it would provide a brand-new source of revenues and players are already taking part in offshore gambling. With legalized options, the OLG would be able to reap the rewards and provide a stable online gambling market for residents and visitors of the province.