The Ontario government plans to incorporate online casinos into the OLG’s gaming modernization strategy. The OLG announced a joint partnership with Spielo G2 last week to develop internet gambling software for the expected PlayOLG.ca website. The announcement was made just prior to a Responsible Gambling Council conference in Toronto this week, which will discuss an online casino’s effects on the social atmosphere of the province.
The Responsible Gambling Council is an independent non-profit organization, which devotes its platform to problem gambling prevention. The OLG wants to develop privatized casinos in specific gambling zones across the province, and the debate surrounding these casinos has often included concerns about potential problem gambling. The RGC is worried that an online casino will make it even easier for players to develop a problem gambling habit than a land-based casino in Toronto or any other community.
To that end, the RGC scheduled a problem gambling conference at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto, which began on April 14th, and will conclude on April 16th. The RGC invited people who were once problem gamblers to share their experiences, and the conference will also include speeches from treatment specialists who worked with problem gamblers in the past. OLG President Rod Phillips is also on the guest list, and was scheduled to give the first speech of the day on Monday April 15.
Phillips is speaking at the event to address the concerns of the RGC and problem gambling advocates as the OLG continues its modernization strategy. Phillips acknowledges that the casino proposals, and now the online casino, are very controversial and divisive across Ontario. The OLG President says he welcomes a healthy debate from both sides, and will clarify that the OLG stands for responsible gambling.
The OLG plans to have the PlayOLG.ca casino developed and scheduled for launch by the end of 2013.