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Ontario May be Next Canadian Province Regulating Online Gambling

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As is the case with most trends, once one group sees that another group has something they do not, the second group instantly wants to be on equal ground. That is the case with online gambling in Canadian provinces.

British Columbia was the first North American territory to regulate Internet gambling, and although the transition to online casinos has not gone smoothly, it has brought attention to the industry. Ontario has paid close attention, and may be the next province into the market.

Millions of dollars are currently leaving Canadian provinces and heading to offshore Internet gaming sites. The B.C. Lottery Corp. decided that instead of having the money leave the country, it would be better to regulate the industry that has millions of participants in North America.

"Countries around the world are starting to realize that online gambling is a form of entertainment that is not going away anytime soon," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "That is why governments have started along the path of regulation and moving away from criminalization of what some believe to be a harmless activity."

A large portion of lawmakers do not buy into the idea that online gambling is not harmless. Those fighting against regulation believe that addiction and underage gambling would become more prevalent if Internet gambling was easily accessible in living rooms. Pro-gambling lawmakers counter this argument by asserting that regulation would lead to better control of problem gambling.

Ontario is in the exploratory mode of Internet gambling. The government is looking into how much revenue could be generated in regulations are put in place. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Chairman Paul Godfrey acknowledged months ago that online gambling regulations could be on the horizon.

The US is also moving towards overturning their perceived ban on Internet gambling. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was created in 2006, but it has proved to be an ineffective way of slowing US residents from gambling online.

Representative Barney Frank has introduced legislation to overturn the UIGEA. The legislation has already passed Frank's House Financial Services Committee.

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