The Atlantic Lottery Corporation is the latest Canadian gambling regulator to express interest in launching a fully licensed online casino. The announcement comes as little surprise to supporters of regulated online gambling in Canada, though some governments in the Maritimes do not fully support the plan.
Provincially backed online casinos are nothing new to Canada. Loto-Quebec went live with Espacejeux.com in 2010, which became a popular gambling destination for Quebec residents. The BCLC followed suit by launching PlayNow.com in 2011, which became so successful that it was licensed to Manitoba under the regulatory authority of the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation.
The OLG intends to launch PlayOLG.ca for Ontario gamers before the end of 2013. And several First Nations regulated casinos are available to Canadians with gambling licenses powered by First Nations authority.
Gambling in the Maritimes is all collaborated under the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, which argues that money continues to flow out of Eastern Canada due to the lack of a regulated online casino that reinvests gambling revenue back into provincial coffers. Michelle Carinci, CEO of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, believes that an internet casino for the Maritimes is necessary to keep pace with other jurisdictions across Canada.
Currently Canadians are only able to access online casinos based in offshore jurisdictions – other than the already licensed provincial casinos. Carinci says these offshore locations take money away from the economy of Eastern Canada. She feels that a government-backed casino will reduce the amount of money leaving the economy as well as offer a more secure product to protect east coast Canadians.
While many provincial governments recognize the benefits of regulated online gambling, the New Brunswick government is less supportive than its counterparts. New Brunswick Finance Minister Peter Mesheau stated that while the Atlantic Lottery Corporation has the authority to study the implications of online gambling, he does not support an online casino.
However, it remains unclear if Mesheau speaks on behalf of the government or is expressing his personal opinion.