Canadian Organizations Rally Against Illegal Gambling

Illegal sports betting is on the rise in Canada. Last summer, the country updated its federal law on gambling and legalized single-event sports betting. The new law allowed provincial governments to regulate sports betting as they saw fit within their jurisdictions.

Ontario embraced the opportunity and began offering commercial licenses to operators. However, other provinces took a different approach. In the case of Alberta, all sports betting, lottery, and casino games would go through Play Alberta, its own service.

Many sports betting companies have started ignoring local laws and heavily advertising their services despite not having the required regulations. Concerned about the sudden boom of illegal sports betting, organizations from several Canadian provinces have joined forces to combat the new threat. Lottery and gambling corporations from British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada have created a coalition to deal with illegal online gambling.

Illegal Operators Often Lack Adequate Player Protection

According to a June 2022 survey by H2 Gambling Capital, Canada’s gambling business is currently valued at $3.8 billion. Projections show that this number will increase to 6.2 billion by 2026. Kandice Machado, CEO of the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis (AGLC), expressed concern that bettors would visit illegal websites without adequate customer protection. The AGLC is the sole gaming authority in the province of Alberta and manages its official PlayAlberta.ca website.

Illegal operators see the Canadian landscape, on the whole, as ripe for the taking.

Kandice Machado, AGLC CEO

Machado added that operators invested significant amounts in advertising regardless of the law and aimed to dominate the market. According to her, Canadians could fall prey to misleading marketing and often unknowingly engage in illegal gambling. Most Canadian provinces have seen an influx of offshore operators promoting their websites during national broadcasts, especially during high-profile sporting events. This density of ads blurs the line between regulated operators and illegal gaming sites, misleading any would-be customers.

Unregulated Gambling Can Bring Economic Harm

The newly created coalition will invest in increasing public awareness of illegal operators and work with media platforms to help them comply with regulations by refusing to work with unregulated websites. The provincial corporations also urged the federal authorities to enforce the law and take action against operators violating gambling regulations.

Patrick Daigle, Atlantic Lottery Corporation president, and CEO, also expressed concern that offshore companies were draining vital profits from licensed companies.

This is a significant amount of money that could be staying right here… to fund public services, but instead continues to be taken away…

Patrick Daigle, president, and CEO of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation

According to Daigle, illegal operators were depriving local communities for their sole benefit. Coalition representatives added that they reinvested their profits into their respective provinces to fund community, healthcare, and education programs. In contrast, illegal operators gladly advertised to Canadians but were usually located abroad and drained vital profits that would otherwise benefit the provinces.

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