Although there are some significant differences between Canadian and US gambling laws – one of the most notable points being the government’s involvement in Canadian casinos – it doesn’t even take a breach of gambling regulations to expose a cross-border operation to the wrath of authorities.
That has clearly been the case with Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino, accused by the Canadian Transportation Agency of operating an unlicensed airline in Canada.
Now, it is clear that there are certain areas where American internet casino will never be able to compete with brick-and-mortar venues. No matter what bonuses are offered, how flashy the graphics or exciting the jackpots, it requires a physical facility to offer valuable and attractive comps to high rolling players.
Free rooms, drinks, shows, flights… Well, it’s exactly those flights, provided free to big spenders, which got Borgata into hot water.
Using its own twin-engine jets to shuttle Canadian whales (as in high rolling players) between Montreal and Toronto, and Atlantic City, Borgata was merely following an age-old practice, which some claim had originated in the early days of the US casino industry back in Las Vegas.
Canadian authorities nevertheless insisted, that only licensed airlines may offer regular, public flights, and took the casino operator to court. The court in turn fined Borgata CAD 25,000 for the violation.
Following several appeals, in which the casino argued that these flights were not available to the general public, the fine has been cut in half. Borgata, however, is fighting on to achieve complete exoneration. In a latest development, a Canadian court granted the company’s request to have the case reviewed anew.
While the amount of the fine is not high at all – lawyers in the case have probably pocketed much more money already – what is really at stake here is the ability of Atlantic City casinos to tap into the lucrative Canadian client base of high rollers, who also have an increasing number of home-grown casinos at their disposal.