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Gambling in the USA

Canada still lags in online gambling front

Niji Narayan

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Canada still lags in online gambling front
Reading Time: 3 minutes

With US Supreme Court’s recent order paving the way for legalising sports betting in the country, many observers are curiously watching Canada’s gambling scene. But the indications from the country suggest that it may be going in the opposite direction. Canada’s gambling industry has created an income of $17.3 billion CAD last year. It is expected to be higher this year.

The legislation is such that it is legal to bet online, provided the online casino or poker site does not have a physical facility in Canada.  Obviously, the provincial casinos, like PlayNow.com, Espacejeux, and PlayOLG, have been finding this hard to accept.

The lawmakers are also concerned with this as online gambling results in revenue loss for the state. In 2016, the Quebec legislature passed Bill 74 which, among other things, included a provision to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block international online casino operators.

Loto-Quebec, the provincial gambling body in Quebec, operates EspaceJeux.com, an online casino that requires all players to be residents of Quebec. More importantly, EspaceJeux’s profits are passed on to the provincial government just the same as lotteries and land-based casino profits, which are also regulated. As Simon Stern from toponlinecasinos.ca explains, up until 2016, Loto-Quebec has stated on the record that they were taking too much of a cut, meaning their Return to Player (RTP) was much lower than competing internationally based casinos. They were unable to grow rapidly enough to be sustainable due to players having easy options to play online where they had a better chance of winning. Since then, Espace Jeux has increased their RTP but are subsequently not meeting their profit goals as the margins tighten. Competition is fierce internationally and the largest online casinos have huge revenues to offer huge welcome bonuses and excellent RTPs. The answer for Quebec was to simply introduce legislation to eliminate the competition by forcing ISPs to block these websites. Bill 74 was passed with exactly that provision in 2016.

How is Quebec Bill 74 supposed to work? Loto-Quebec is to give a list of over 2000 gambling websites that ISPs in the province should block. They are also supposed to offer a tender to international online casinos to become partners with EspaceJeux where they will redirect registered players to these casinos through EspaceJeux but Loto-Quebec will maintain the customer information and take a cut of revenues. Some of the most visited sites from Quebec include PokerStars, Casino.com and LeoVegas and these parties may be candidates for approval. The law was given many months to set up the appropriate framework to accomplish this goal. All other online casinos will be blocked in the province and the responsibility to block them will be with the ISPs. The ISPs, which include some of the largest corporations in Canada, do not want to take on this burden and civil rights activists are concerned that this action leads the country down a slippery slope of allowing the government to restrict free speech and an open internet.

The consortium of ISPs, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), formally filed complaint to the national body governing telecommunications, the CRTC, who is formally the only organisation who legally have jurisdiction in this case. The CRTC came back with a recommendation that the law was unconstitutional and that they alone, along with the Government of Canada, have jurisdiction but they will await the court’s decision. Thus, the law introduced by the provincial Government of Quebec should not be implemented. The CWTA immediately filed suit in Quebec Superior Court to block the law from being implemented, where it stands today. The court case was delayed until March 2018 where a ruling still awaits. The general consensus among legal scholars is that the law will be rejected on constitutional grounds but will likely head all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

What if the law is able to stand? A ruling in favour of Bill 74 would be the first such case that would allow provincial governments to restrict what their residents can view on the internet. The immediate result would be that Quebec residents would be unable to play at international online casinos and poker sites that are not licenced through EspaceJeux and Loto-Quebec. The implications are far-reaching in that it opens the door for similar laws to restrict other facets of a free internet and for other provinces to do the same. Canada will go from one of the most popular markets for online gambling to one of the most restrictive. More importantly, Canada could go from one of the most open societies in the world to one that restricts free speech and freedom of internet.

 

Source: cardplayer.com

Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.

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Gambling in the USA

IGT Extends Contract with Kansas Lottery for Providing INTELLIGEN™ System

Niji Narayan

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IGT Extends Contract with Kansas Lottery for Providing INTELLIGEN™ System
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

International Game Technology PLC, has signed a new three-year contract with the Kansas Lottery for providing its INTELLIGEN™ central computer system and services to monitor electronic gaming machines throughout the state. The new deal, an extension of the original central system services agreement awarded to IGT in 2008, will start on December 15, 2019 and end on December 14, 2022.

“We have leveraged more than 20 years of development expertise and knowledge gathering with gaming central system customers throughout the world to produce the INTELLIGEN system to ensure it’s equipped with the most advanced tools for our customers,” said Jay Gendron, IGT Chief Operating Officer, North America Lottery. “IGT and the Kansas Lottery have built a strong partnership since this contract began more than 10 years ago, and we’re pleased to be furthering this relationship by continuing to provide our advanced system to the nearly 5,000 electronic gaming machines in the state.”

“IGT’s INTELLIGEN system has helped the Kansas Lottery meet the objectives of operating our electronic gaming machines with the highest standards of integrity and security to benefit the state for the last 10 years,” said Stephen Durrell, Kansas Lottery Acting Executive Director “We look forward to continuing our relationship over the next few years.”

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Gambling in the USA

Rivers Casino Schenectady submits comment on legalising sports betting

Niji Narayan

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Rivers Casino Schenectady submits comment on legalising sports betting
Photo Source: albany.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady has submitted a comment on the New York State Gaming Commission’s proposed regulations for legalising sports betting in New York state. The regulations to authorise and regulate the conduct of sports wagering at the four commercial casinos licensed by the Gaming Commission, including Rivers Casino, are now open for public comment until May 20, 2019.

The following quote is from Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady Acting General Manager, Justin Moore:

“We’re extremely pleased that sports betting regulations have been released for public comment and are looking forward to introducing one of the first licensed sports books in the state of New York at Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. It’s very exciting to be able to bring sports fans and sports bettors into the casino to place legal wagers for the first time.”

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Gambling in the USA

New Hampshire Passes Sports Betting Bill

Niji Narayan

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New Hampshire Passes Sports Betting Bill
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The House of Representatives of New Hampshire has approved House Bill 480, which would legalise sports betting in the state. The bill will be sent to the Senate for further discussion.

The bill was passed in a 269–82 vote, with an amendment to the original proposal. The House decided that the bill needed work before allowing the arrival of sports betting in New Hampshire. Lawmakers set a limit of 10 retail sportsbooks in the state and the establishment of a council for responsible gambling. Furthermore, they clarified the prohibited events where sports betting would not be allowed. Collegiate sports events within the state, high school sports and amateur contests involving minors will be banned.

“We’re not creating a new industry here, we’re just bringing an illicit industry into a legalized industry,” Rep. Timothy Lang said. “If the bill passes, they’ll seek town approval to offer sports betting there. That’d be the kind of place you can go to sit and watch a game and place a bet,” he added.

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