04/06/2012 : CANADIAN PROVINCES TO COLLABORATE ON INTERNET GAMBLING
British Columbia and Manitoba to work together
The Canadian province of Manitoba is to benefit from the internet gambling experience of British Columbia following a joint announcement that the two provincial lotteries are to collaborate on the introduction of online gambling facilities for Manitoba residents.
Quebec and British Columbia have well-established online gambling operations regulated by the provincial lotteries, whilst Ontario is currently gearing up to offer similar services to its residents later this year .
"We launched online gaming in British Columbia to provide a secure and legal option for people who play online and to keep revenues in the province that otherwise would be going to illegal gambling sites," said the Honourable Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC).
"We are pleased to share our expertise with Manitoba to strengthen regulated online gambling in Canada."
A spokesman for Manitoba Lotteries identified the BCLC's business model, which has been successfully operating as Playnow.com, as the best choice for regulated online gambling in its province.
"Innovation is key to growth in any business," said Michael Graydon, president and CEO of BCLC. "We are creating a new revenue stream for BCLC by leveraging our experience and the expertise of our best-in-class vendors and providing these services to another jurisdiction."
It is understood that Openbet will be a technology and content supplier in the deal.
BCLC will provide site design, development and testing services and will manage most aspects of the Manitoba website, which is expected to launch in 2013 with casino and poker games. Sports betting and bingo may also be available when the site launches.
Manitoba Lotteries will operate the e-gaming offering, and the site will be regulated by the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission.
Both partners will benefit from economies of scale and a larger player base for games such as poker, spokesmen said, adding that the terms of the service agreement between the BCLC and Manitoba Lotteries are still being negotiated.
BCLC contracts with vendors GTech G2 for online poker software and with OpenBet for online gambling and betting software. In 2010/11, PlayNow.com generated Cdn$43 million in revenue for BCLC.
Manitoba Lotteries Minister Steve Ashton said Thursday that online gambling was already present in Canada, and that Manitoba needed to keep up with an industry that has already spread far and wide.
"There are 2,000 sites currently and an estimated $37 million that goes into online gaming, much of it which goes out of the province," Ashton said. "We view the new site as a way of keeping that in the province."
Five percent of net revenues will be used to fund gambling addiction programs, Ashton said – up from the normal two percent take from traditional land gambling venues.
Manitoba officials believe the online site will bring in $1.5 million in its first year and about $17 million a year by 2018.