Wednesday November 5,2014 : ONTARIO ONLINE GAMBLING JUST WEEKS AWAY
Provincial authorities announce upcoming launch of PlayOLG.ca.
The Canadian province of Ontario – Canada's most populous – is set to launch provincially regulated online gambling within the next few weeks, according to an announcement Tuesday. Check it out here
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has been engaged in developing its online gambling capability for the past two years as it seeks to emulate similar provincial internet gambling initiatives already well-established in Quebec, Manitoba, the Maritime provinces and British Columbia.
A statement from the OLG revealed that over 50,000 of its most loyal customers will initially get a "sneak peak" of the new portal and be invited to provide feedback before the full public launch goes ahead.
“Eligible members of OLG’s Winner’s Circle Rewards program will participate in a short-term, soft launch of the new site before it becomes available to legal-aged Ontarians in the coming weeks,” the statement reveals.
OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti later said that the Winner's Circle players had been emailed with the offer. He advised that the new gambling website would ultimately offer both table games like blackjack, slots and poker as well as more arcade-style games, and that Ontarians will also be able to purchase lottery tickets online.
Around 500,000 punters in Ontario already gamble online, giving their business and their money to what the OLG characterises as "grey market" websites. This represents around $400 to $500 million in revenues on which the provincial government should be getting a cut, the Corporation contends.
The OLG is a Crown corporation that returns just under $2 billion to the provincial treasury each year, and Bitonti says that despite fierce competition, market research has shown that there is still opportunity for a trusted and efficient operator like the OLG to profit from sustainable demand.
The Corporation has put strong emphasis on responsible gambling in developing the new service, which will require strict age and ID authentication; allow users to set caps on what they can spend; ask them if they’ve been playing too long; and show a clock of how long they’ve been playing, all to prevent gambling problems from developing.
The provincial government is currently struggling with a $12 billion budget deficit, prompting the province's Chamber of Commerce to observe this week that:
“Ontario’s fiscal situation is becoming increasingly dire, though we have not yet reached a crisis point.
“That said, we are likely to reach a state of crisis unless the province cuts spending and changes the ways it does business,” it said.