Lawmakers in Ontario are looking to plug holes in the budget by launching a government-operated online gambling site.
Canadian gambling laws are generally permissive to online gaming. Each province allows legal online casino gambling and betting in some form, although many of them don’t issue licenses to operators.
Ontario, the country’s most populous province, is now launching an online casino market, joining British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces in offering licensed, regulated internet gambling.
According to media sources, Ontario is taking things a step farther and will actually operate the site itself, meaning that all of the profit will be funneled into the provincial budget.
While critics argue that the government has no business getting involved in gambling, it is a proven way to raise tax revenue. And residents of Ontario have a voracious appetite for gambling online.
A large source of untapped revenue
The move is apparently inspired by the fact that the province has a $12 billion debt. Rather than have residents to continue to use online gambling sites based offshore, or sites regulated and taxed in other provinces, the authorities in Ontario are looking for their own piece of the pie.
An official press release and gambling news said the following: “Currently, approximately 500,000 Ontarians spend an estimated $400-$500 million annually on out-of-province, grey market sites which are not regulated in Ontario.”