eGambling News From Canada

Although there is a huge demand for internet gambling in Canada its legalization has been marred by thousands of illegal internet casinos still operating in the country. The Canadian government is still trying to find a way how to tax these foreign gambling sites. Worth mentioning, US federal enforcement agencies like the Department of Justice (DoJ) the Department of Homeland Security which aims to clamp down on internet gambling due to possible terrorist threats.

A Canadian newspaper the Vancouver Sun published an article recently where it asked the question why the Canadian government has not followed the example of the United States by persecuting foreign based internet gambling sites servicing Canadian punters: “The ongoing crackdown by American authorities against foreign internet casinos begs the question, “Why haven’t Canadian authorities followed suit?”

The newspaper consulted various experts on this issue. To begin with, according to the Canadian Criminal Code only provincial governments are allowed to run lotteries or betting games on the Internet. As it is there are approximately 2,000 offshore internet casinos accessible to Canadians who wager in excess of Cdn$4 billion per annum.

A professor of law stated, “When economic interests begin to come into play, maybe that will be the greater incentive to deal with the offshore sites. Dollars may drive the decision in the end.”

It seems like Canadian law is not geared as yet to accommodate internet gambling, and many legal experts debate whether the law is being breached or not. In addition popular opinion holds that enforcement bodies have far more important matters to address than trying to clamp down on a pastime that is a private choice of Canadian punters.

Vice president of the Canadian Gaming Association, Paul Burns told the Sun that government officials are not interested at this stage to enforce it, since this industry is a legal grey zone, “There hasn’t been a huge public outcry. There’s a high level of acceptance of offshore operators in Canada. Either you enforce the law or create a framework to regulate these offshore sites. Canada has so far chosen to do neither.”

Burns also said that his association would welcome lawmakers’ moves to legalize and regulate foreign based internet gambling operators, and to protect Canadians from being exploited by these sites.

An expert realised the practical limitations US law officials currently face, “Will players be prosecuted for an activity in the privacy of their own homes and if so how? How do you exercise jurisdiction over an internet casino based in another country? And this week sees Black Friday-style indictments and domain seizures against Calvin Ayre in the United States.

Quebec, British Columbia and certain Atlantic provinces permits internet gambling, while Ontario aims to legalize it later this year. It stands to reason the more involved provinces become in internet gambling, the more it needs to be regulated both for commercial and for moral reasons.



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