Online gaming

Legalized online gambling kicks off despite lingering concerns

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Sports betting and online casino gambling on a single event this week is for the first time fully legal in Ontario, despite myriad concerns about the potential loss of land-based casino jobs and the likelihood of an increase in gambling addiction.

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The Ontario government on Monday opened up the world of online gaming to the private sector, resulting in more than two dozen global companies already getting a license to operate in that province from new company iGaming Ontario. .

Before this week, people interested in online gambling could only do so illegally via the “grey market”. All revenues – estimated at $1 billion per year in Canada – had gone into the pockets of companies such as Draft Kings, FanDuel, Betway or Jackpot City.

“The provincial government wants some of that revenue, but on the other hand, they haven’t done their due diligence on those expensive jobs and whether we’re going to have long-term problems because of ‘an increased number of drug addicts,’ the local said. MPP Percy Hatfield (NDP — Windsor-Tecumseh) who raised the issue at Queen’s Park on Monday.

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He noted that hundreds of workers due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic are still being laid off at Caesars Windsor, so the legalization of online gambling couldn’t come at a worse time.

His concern is further exacerbated by the fact that the government only charges a 20% cut in revenue from online gambling companies, but 55% from land-based casinos.

“The Attorney General said if they taxed (online businesses) higher, they wouldn’t pay it,” Hatfield said. “So that’s the only way to get revenue out of it.”

Anyone watching TV in recent weeks, especially sporting events, can’t help but notice the sudden influx of advertisements aimed at online gaming companies.

Several high-profile celebrities have joined us, including Wayne Gretzky, who signed on as a brand ambassador for sportsbook BetMGM when it entered the market in Ontario.

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Several sports-focused TV and online entities have already teamed up to promote sports betting, including FanDuel, which on Monday signed a multi-year deal with TSN that will offer promotions during game broadcasts and mobile apps.

Tech companies are also entering the province’s new world of online gaming, such as Sportradar, an official partner of most professional sports leagues, which announced Tuesday that it has received its license from iGaming Ontario and will work to enhance every gamer’s online experience.

“You have these big-name celebrities and a lot of money to promote what’s going on here,” Hatfield said.

“But you also open the door to a lot of people who may be addicted to gambling by being able to do so from home instead of the casino like Caesars Windsor where you can’t get in because they have your name on a watch list. and a facial. acknowledgement.”

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Under provincial iGaming regulations, every new gaming company must provide a “responsible gaming message” in all advertising and marketing materials, but there’s little else to stop the behavior of addictive game online than the customer himself.

“That’s the scary thing,” Hatfield said. “Many people have raised these concerns over the past month.

“I know it’s taking a lot, but they need to find the technology or have the ability to identify people who are having trouble with gambling and let them know what’s out there so they can seek help before they go. ‘to go in too deep.

  1. An entrance to Caesars Windsor Casino and Hotel in Windsor, Ontario.  Photographed August 27, 2021.

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  2. Caesars Windsor is seen on Friday, October 22, 2021.

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  3. In this photo illustration a man plays on his computer an online slot machine.

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iGaming Ontario officials were not available for comment on Tuesday.

Some critics hoped changes to the government’s online gambling plan could have been made and Monday’s official launch delayed. But now that it’s here, changes need to be made to protect land-based casino employees and potential problem gamblers, Hatfield said.

“They went out on a wing and prayed for a share of the revenue, but it doesn’t look like the government is listening at this point,” he said.

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