I don’t get it.
Canada, always so conservative is anything but when it comes to gambling.
Case in point. Ontario, which is joining Quebec, British Columbia and the Atlantic Provinces in offering internet gambling according to a statement Tuesday by the provincial minister of finance, Dwight Duncan.
The possibility that Ontario would join its sister provinces in regulating online gambling has been in the works for a while, but has become more urgent following strong moves into the sector by the other provinces.
Finance minister Duncan said Tuesday that the province will offer online gambling in 2012, harvesting tax revenues that could grow to Cdn$100 million a year within five years, according to government estimates.
It’s always about money, isn’t it?
Minister Duncan said “we’re losing about Cdn$400 million per year to offshore websites.”
Godfrey added: “If we’re going to retain Ontarians’ money in Ontario, we’ve got to start doing it now.”
Are you listening, U.S. legislators?
Especially legislators whining about deficits and budget shortfalls.
Robert Murray, manager of the problem gambling project at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said while online gamblers represent only a small proportion – about 2.1 percent — of total Canadian gamblers, the Internet is one of the fastest-growing methods of gambling.
Murray said he is concerned that more people will want to try online gambling if they know it is government-sanctioned. “The trick is to balance the need to generate revenue with the social consequences that this expansion of gambling may result in,” Murray told CTV News.
Minister Duncan stressed there will be safeguards to ensure responsible gambling.