In January of 2015 several Canadian provinces were joined by Ontario in offering online gambling entertainment regulated by the government. The idea was to make the PlayOLG site a more controlled and safer option. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has reported the online division of the Crown agency is behind the competition with modest revenues. The $58 million in revenue for the 2016/2017 fiscal year was far behind British Columbia and Quebec. Even though they are not legal in Canada online sportsbooks and casinos are major competition.
Online Casinos and Gambling for Players in Canada
The Canadian market is following the trend of the online gambling sector. If they are able to obtain players from other platforms the Canadian economy will profit. The growth is positive but much slower for Ontario’s PlayOLG. According to the legal framework in Canada it is illegal to host a gambling site on any territory in Canada. The approach of the government is decentralized and the provinces decide what is legal. Only the provincial governments can legally operate online platforms and gambling facilities.
This makes the provincial governments Crown Corporation responsible for commercial and tribal casinos, lotteries and the slot machines hosted by tracks providing horse racing. The exception is the Kahnawake Mohawk Nation. Gambling providers can be regulated and issued licenses through the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. This includes foreign operators in the Mohawk Territory. The Crown Corporation is responsible for the Gaming corporation or the OLG and the Ontario Lottery. Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission regulates sports betting sites and the other online casinos.
The PlayOLG website can only be used by adults located in Ontario. The site offers table games, slots, lotteries and video poker. The main software provider is International Game Technology. Sports wagering, bingo and online poker have not yet been added. Unregulated offshore gambling sites have been visited by approximately 500,000 customers in Ontario. Their annual spending is roughly between $400 and $500 million. The new website has not yet attracted their attention.
To meet the increasing demand the provincial lottery corporations in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia are now offering online services. PlayNow is a lottery website launched in 2004. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation launched Canada’s first internet casino in 2010. In December of the same year Loto Quebec launched Espacejeux. This is a platform for the online casino. Ontario’s PlayOLG became available in 2014.
During the first year PlayOLG showed a revenue increase of 18.7 percent. Their $49.2 million in earnings increased due to more players. The fiscal earnings for 2016/2017 reached $58.4 million. The figures appear promising but are insignificant compared to the $7.47 billion total gaming revenue. Lotteries generated almost $3.7 billion, casinos $3.58 billion and charitable gaming $158 million. Espacejeux and PlayNow are the rivals of PlayOLG. During the first nine months of the last fiscal year $66 million was generated by the online operations in Quebec. The gambling sites regulated by the government in British Columbia were striking when compared to the earnings of PlayNow. They earned $125 million during the fiscal year.