Are Canada’s Unclear Online Gambling Laws Costing Business?

The Canadian government may be required to clarify online gambling laws in the country, or risk alienating more providers associated with online gaming entertainment.

Affiliates of Titan Casino, whose software is powered by online casino games developer Playtech, confirmed in November they will withdraw from the Canadian market by December 22.  However, a statement from Titan released this month reversed the decision, and the casino is now offering “welcome back bonuses” as remedy for the confusion.

In a press conference this week, managers of online payment processor Skrill announced they will finish processing gambling transactions for Canadian players as of January 2.  The company also stated that any balances owed to players must be paid by casino operators through Skrill by January 31 before the service is suspended indefinitely.

The flip-flopping by Titan, and the announced withdrawal from Canada by Skrill, leave many pundits connected to the gambling industry scratching their heads.  The Canadian government has not publicly discussed amendments to online gambling legislation, which would prohibit operators from servicing Canadian players.

Nevertheless, the Canadian market remains a grey area with conflicting laws that complicate matters for operators.  Unlike the UK, online gambling firms are unable to operate within Canadian jurisdiction.  Also unlike the US, the practice is not federally prohibited for offshore providers.

One of the reasons being cited for Skrill’s withdrawal from Canada is newly launched online gambling in New Jersey, which only legalizes operators and payment processors who are based within the state.  Skrill was recently authorized to process online gambling transactions in New Jersey, and analysts hint one of the conditions for approval was to withdraw from grey gambling markets such as Canada, where laws are complicated.

Canadian provinces are also launching their own regulated online casinos, which could also be contributing to the uncertainty for offshore firms.  How this confusion will affect the future of Canada’s online gambling market is unknown at this time.