Malta’s online casinos make it big in Canada
Since Europe has been flooded with new online gambling regulations in order to halt unhealthy gambling habits, Malta’s licensed casino operators are looking for new territories to head over to.
The US is a huge opportunity, yet most operators stay away from it because of the complexities of State-by-State regulation. Meanwhile Canada, who is the equivalent of a mere 10% of the population of the U.S.A, still appeals as a less challenging proposition. Originally, Canadian law made the practice of gambling or taking bets illegal. This was codified in the Criminal Code of Conduct, originally set out in 1892, but things changed after the 1960s, where exceptions have been made to the rules and the governments of the Provinces have been allowed to run lotteries as fund-raising activities, and then eventually land-based casinos and online games.
In reality, Canada has been one of the industry’s favorite ‘grey’ markets for many years now. This is caused by the legal framework that allows only State-run lottery and fixed odds games sites to operate within the country, but does not actually block offshore operators from taking bets from Canadian citizens or make it illegal for those citizens to place bets at sites run by offshore betting companies.
Currently, the most popular online gambling site based in Canada is PlayNow.com, owned by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, but it all be facing quite some strong competition from offshore operators, particularly those licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority. As of now, the Canadian market represents a major opportunity for Malta-based gambling operators to offset potential losses brought on by the recently-implemented regulations in Europe.
While there are no plans for Canada to regulate and insist on licensing offshore businesses yet, the first steps have been taken by the government of Ontario, led by Doug Ford, to hand over power to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), allowing them to regulate online gambling and issue licenses to privately-run gambling operators in that province.
These plans were hesitantly published in the 2019 budget, but no one expects circumstances to change in such a short amount of time and this represents the plan of just one of Canada’s nine provinces. For now, Malta-based operators will keep enjoying the rewards of offering their products to Canada’s gamblers.