Because of the way Canadian gambling laws are structured, regulation of internet gambling does not happen at a national level. Instead, each individual province can choose to either regulate and license internet gambling sites, or just stay away entirely. The Canadian province of Manitoba has become the second province in the last week to announce they are not ready to dive into the world of internet gambling, following a similar announcement a few days ago by Nova Scotia.
British Columbia became the first to offer an online casino in Canada earlier this year. Despite a bumpy start, the site seems to be doing well. Called PlayNow, it is in fact the first online gambling site to be legally licensed in North America. In recent months, both Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island have considered following BC’s role, while Ontario and Quebec are poised and ready to make a move. Manitoba, on the other hand, is hesitant.
“We want a careful review of whether it’s positive for people who play online,” said Premier Greg Selinger. “There are over 2,000 unregulated sites right now that people can participate in with no protections in terms of addictions and supports. On the other hand, we do not want to do anything that would be negative to the public.”
These “unregulated” sites Selinger refer to are not in fact unregulated; they are just not regulated by Canadian officials. They are offshore sites, hosted in places like Gibraltar or Curacao, which offer internet gambling in Canada. These sites draw millions from the Canadian economy each year, which is a major motivating factor for legalizing and regulating online gambling locally.
Manitoba may still enter the online gambling world, but Selinger has no projections about when a decision on the matter might be announced.