Ontario Seeks to Offer Online Poker to Canadians

by Lou on February 24, 2010

With Loto-Quebec’s online poker site set to launch this fall and Finance Minister Raymond Bachand predicting the province will pull in about $50 million in dividends after three years, Ontario—Canada’s most populous province—wants in.

Ontario’s Premier Dalton McGuinty said, “Virtual gambling is a reality and the Ontario government obviously cannot ignore it for long. The issue is whether or not we should be involved in that, and I think we’re going to have to make a call. It’s something we can’t avoid.”

Ontario Lottery and Gaming chairman Paul Godfrey wants the province to provide Internet gambling rather than watch revenue slip away to other provinces and offshore websites.

At this point Canada is a mixed bag when it comes to online gaming. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation and British Columbia both offer online poker, but the Western Canada Lottery, which oversees gambling in the three Prairie Provinces, is not planning to offer online gambling.

Here in the States, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, sponsored a bill that would roll back UIGEA, the law prohibiting financial institutions from processing transactions to and from Internet gambling sites, and would charge the Treasury Department with licensing and regulating online gaming firms operating in the US.

Although Frank has strong support for his bill, and numerous co-sponsors, my opinion is that it will not be passed in 2010. I hope I’m wrong, but the time and political climate seems to argue strongly against its passage.

{ 1 comment }

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