On Wednesday, the 4th of August 2010, several changes were made to Canadian gambling laws that allow for greater punishment of offenders. The list of “serious offences” in the country’s Criminal Code has been amended, with a total of 11 additions being made. Many of these additions are gambling related.
The following gambling related actions are now considered “serious offences” in Canada:
• Keeping a common gaming or betting house
• Betting, pool-selling and book-making
• Committing offences in relation to lotteries and games of chance
• Cheating while playing a game or in holding the stakes for a game or in betting
Other non-gambling offences include actions related to prostitution, and to the trafficking, import, or export of drugs. The new classification of these offences makes them indictable and allows them to be punished by five years or more in prison. The primary reason for these changes is to give law enforcement officials more power to fight organized crime.
“Organized crime groups often rely upon the proceeds of these acts to equip themselves to commit violent acts and to fund large-scale criminal operations that threaten public safety,” said Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
These laws are designed to target illegal gambling operations, and to allow authorities to indict and incarcerate those who run them. The average gambler, whether they are playing at a casino or at an online gambling site in Canada, will not be affected by the changes.
In fact, the Canadian province of British Columbia recently launched the first fully licensed Canadian internet casino. The site has struggled with technical problems in recent weeks, and unfortunately this frightened a lot of potential players away, but the operators remain confident that the site will prosper. Meanwhile, dozens of other gambling sites are available to players in Canada – these are hosted overseas, and are also not affected by the new changes to the Criminal Code.