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Atlantic Canadians Wager Millions Online at Offshore Sites

- December 20, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation can't offer single-event betting, online casino games, or poker.

Citizens of Atlantic Canada have wagered $90 million at offshore sites in 10 months.

While Quebec started its battle against illegal offline casino operators a while ago and decided to block offshore operators that offer services to the Quebecoise, a decision which caused concern in Canada and abroad and even the chief of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority was forced to react and publicly say that he and his organisation are against Quebec’s plan, thousands of people in Atlantic Canada wager millions of dollars at offshore betting sites and casinos.

Local papers claim that due to the fact that Canada, i.e. its Atlantic provinces have restrictive gambling laws, Atlantic Canadians wager at offshore operators and not at locally based operators like the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. The ALC is authorised by the local governments of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to offer online games and betting.

$90 Million Were Wagered in 10 Months

A research conducted by an independent organisation shows that Canadians from the Atlantic provinces have wagered a total of $90m through sites operated by offshore companies during the first 10 months of 2017. The amount that has been wagered through the ALC during the same period was a mere $10 million.

Out of 90$ million that were wagered by residents of the Atlantic provinces, more than $22 were wagered on single bets, and these types of bets cannot be offered by local operators, as it is prohibited by local regulations. What’s even worse is that the projections show that we can expect a further growth of the offshore gambling market.

Experts feel that the Atlantic Lottery will only be able to compete with foreign operators if it is not restricted by local laws and regulations. Under current legislation it is legal for Canadians to place wagers with offshore sites, but it is illegal for a Canadian citizen to own or operate an offshore site. Non-Canadian citizens who allow Canadians to place wagers at their websites can theoretically be persecuted if they enter Canada, but that has never happened before.

Local Operators Push for Liberalisation

Canadian operators, including the Atlantic Lottery are only permitted to offer accumulator, also known as multiple or parlay bets, which including more than one selections, but single bets, i.e. bets on just one selection  are most popular among punters. Representatives of the Atlantic Lottery stated that the authorities know their position, adding that they have a pretty strong case.

In addition, the Atlantic Lottery is also unable to offer online casino games and online poker, which are the most popular forms of online gambling.

Reporters spoke with numerous Canadians who wagered money at offshore sites. A man from Halifax said that it is not possible to withdraw money directly to his credit card, adding that there is a way round that restriction. He also added that offshore operators generally offer better odds and that he can shop around and see which operator offers him the most favourable odds.

Proponents of gambling liberalisation point to the US where online betting and gambling are virtually completely banned and yet the amounts that American citizens wager online keep growing as the years go by.

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